Projects

A mobile app for tracking vehicle fleet of the coal mining companies

Type Mobile application
AREAS OF EXPERTISE Mobile development, Flutter, GPS, REST API
TEAM 1 mobile developer, 1 backend developer, 1 QA engineer and 1 manager

The project logically continues a wide web-project connected with the control of the vehicle fleet for coal sector companies. The project is made under control of Rockpile Solutions LLC. The participants of the project team are the official partners of that company.

The main goal is the porting of the existing web application (PWA) into the mobile format and further development of the product for Android tablets and iPads. As a result, drivers of a coal sector company are supposed to make notes of activities on the route and operators and supervisors are supposed to follow the status of any route and get all the reports of the routes done.

The mobile app follows the geographical location of trucks by GPS signal and, depending on the route and driver’s location on it, offers different variants of further actions. If the truck is near a petrol station, there will be the option for refuelling available. If the truck is near a coal loading point, the option of surveying the documents of the load (which means that the loading took place) etc. Drivers can make notes on resting hours, accidental breakage of the truck and other events that affect the time on the way.

For different drivers different routes are available in frames of the projects available.

In case of route changes the operator can send all the necessary information to the mobile application and the driver can just confirm the information received or confirm it and upgrade the information at once so that navigator could use the upgraded route.  

The application covers different countries that is why the system converts different units of measurement for refueling or loading depending on the country truck is in.

By the end of the route, a report is generated. It is sent to the supervisor responsible for this or that part of the route and vehicle fleet.

Challenges
  1. Features of the environment.
    For the interface we need to take into account the fact that drivers can lack working with mobile applications, constant truck shaking, driver’s focus on the road. Interface and functionality of the mobile application should look like a control panel of the factory equipment.
  2. Geographical factor. Most of the locations are far from the standard sources of the internet connection, as a result of it, the truck location signal is taken from cell phone towers that are spread unevenly. That is why we had some map failures when the product was made in web format. Truck location point could “jump” when the truck moved to the location with a different number of signal sources.
  3. Reuse of some functions for another platform.
    The Customer plans to develop a specific application for supervisors within iOS platform and use some functions from the application for drivers.
Solutions
  1. The interface of the application differs from the official Google standart for mobile applications deliberately: all the buttons have the biggest size, driver enters minimised information, built-in Android buttons for navigation are not available to push, application works in kiosk mode (you can’t close the application), the application privents tablet from sleep mode.
  2. Processing of the GPS system data was added to the back-end made on Dart. It repeats the function of GPS navigator. For that we had to work with the native code of the mobile device. To solve the “jumping” problem on the map we added the artificial delay of receiving GPS data to make the truck location point movement on the map more even.
  3. As the Customer plans to develop a mobile application with similar idea, at the beginning of the project we decided to use Flutter technology. Therefore,we can reuse back-end business logic for tracking location of the object when developing new application within iOS platform. Use of common data base for several mobile clients also can help to shorten the time for product testing and debugging.
Results

At the moment the process of porting from web into mobile format is fully completed and the project is still developing as we receive new tasks from the Customer. These tasks are based on the demands of the future clients of the new product and the customers of the released product.

Business value

The main business goal of the project was the logical development of the released product in order to reach a wider audience and to meet the needs of existing customers.

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