What is GLONASS system in the car and how it works

What is GLONASS in a car and how it works?

What is GLONASS? The Russian positioning system, which is the analogue of GPS, is designed to determine the location of objects on the Earth’s surface and solve other problems. It is based on 24 satellites located in three orbits of eight satellites in each orbit. The average accuracy of measurements is from two to six meters, and the coverage area of the globe is 10%, including the territory of Russia. Below we will take a detailed look at what this system is and how it works.

What is GLONASS in a car

The official start of GLONASS was in December 1976 when the government set the task to create their own satellite system. Initially, its purpose was to protect against military attack, but later it began to be used for peaceful purposes.

In 2021, it’s hard to find a person who doesn’t know what GLONASS means. It is a domestic positioning system, based on 24 satellites, which has high accuracy and covers the whole territory of Russia.

Let’s talk in simple words, the GLONASS system on the car, and what it is. We are talking about a monitoring device, which allows you to quickly determine the location of the object, control fuel consumption, determine the route, listen and solve other problems. Depending on the purpose, the system is installed on personal cars or vehicles belonging to transport companies. One of the branches is GLONASS ERA intended to inform emergency services.


The management of the majority of companies is well aware of the features of the GLONASS system for transport control, what it is and what functions it performs. The main task is to determine the coordinates of the object on the surface. At the same time, there are a lot of areas in which it is necessary to measure the distance between points on the plan and monitor the movement of transport. It is especially important when searching for the location of such an object.

Considering the functions of GLONASS, what it is in the car, a number of basic features stand out:

  1. Moving with the help of the installation of the system.
  2. Determination of speed mode with the help of the tracker.
  3. Identification of work/rest mode, thanks to the tachometer.
  4. Preservation of the safety of the load and driver, thanks to timely pressing of an alarm button.
  5. Communication with the driver.

When studying what is GLONASS in the car, its functions can include accumulation and analysis of statistics, search of the vehicle in case of theft, improvement of the quality of transportation and improvement of general traffic safety.

In addition, the GLONASS device is used not only for the car, and is actively used in the sphere of national economy. The satellite system is used in the construction of geodetic networks, in scientific research, in cadastral accounting, autopiloting, information support of dispatching services and other tasks.

How the system works

There are a lot of questions concerning the principle of GLONASS operation in a car. Like in any other navigation device, it sends data about satellite location with time indication. The receiver receives the signal, compares the received information and determines the distance to the object. By doing this work, the exact location is determined.

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The GLONASS operating principle is based on interaction with 24 satellites in orbit. At the same time, communication with three or four satellites is sufficient to determine the location. Accuracy is quite high, but it may vary depending on the situation. The reasons for the error are as follows:

  1. Not ideal location of objects relative to each other, which can lead to a deviation of up to 150 m. In this case, what GLONASS shows is not always correct. Additional satellites or parallel inclusion of GPS may be required to improve accuracy.
  2. Bad weather or being in a city with tall buildings. In this case there is a high risk of signal reflection and difficulties with positioning.
  3. Artificial limitation of accuracy for civilians due to the fact that the military does not want to share all their technology.
  4. Quality of the GLONASS module for cars, which also determines what the device sees and how accurate the data is.

A certain error should not be upset, because otherwise the system copes well with its tasks. The operating principle of the GLONASS system on the car is always the same, which allows you to quickly understand the capabilities of the device and use its capabilities.

Device of the system

The question of how the GLONASS on the car works, it is necessary to study in a complex with the design features of the system. The main elements include devices for communication with satellites or cellular communication elements, as well as devices for information processing and digital maps. Throughout its movement, the object accumulates location information and transmits it to dispatch services.

When considering how the GLONASS system on a truck works, it is important to know its constituent elements. Most often the complex includes:

  1. Terminal – provides communication with satellites.
  2. Server – receives data from trackers and processes it.
  3. Software. Installed on a PC, laptop, phone to get information about the work.
  4. Other elements of the system.

The devices in the car include the terminal itself, the antenna and sensors, from which the information comes to the main unit. Structurally, the device may differ, but the principle of operation is identical.

How it looks

Many people ask how GLONASS looks on the car. In simple words, it is a set of equipment that provides communication with the satellite, collecting information and transmitting it to the central server. It includes the terminal, contactless reader, fuel flow meter and fuel level sensor. Configuration can vary depending on tasks and manufacturer.

What is the difference between ERA GLONASS

A lot of discussions arise about what the GLONASS button on the car is for, what it is and what it is designed for. It is important to understand that the GLONASS ERA has a slightly different purpose. Its functions include the transfer of data to special services when the vehicle is in an accident. The system works in two versions:

  1. Automatic. In the case of impact or coup a signal is formed with data about the coordinates, speed, type of signal, mark / technical characteristics of the car. Then via GSM communication channels it is formed and transmitted to the operations center. Specialists accept the request, check it and transfer the data to the appropriate services.
  2. Manual. Here communication with the operator is done by pressing a button. Above we looked at the features of GLONASS support, and what it is. Here the principle is the same, but the driver or passengers themselves contact the operator, tell about the situation and ask to call for help.
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As for the regular GLONASS, it is designed for monitoring and control and not only for communication with the driver and calling special services. In addition, the ERA branch is used more for individuals, while the main system is most often used for companies.

What it shows

When installing the device, it is necessary to know what GLONASS monitors. With its help, the following information can be obtained:

  • location on the map;
  • control of movements;
  • movement reports for a certain period;
  • fuel level;
  • speed;
  • movement route;
  • exact mileage, etc.

Drivers should understand what GLONASS means, because with its help the employer can determine the fact of inefficient use of transport, detect fraud, etc.

How to use

There is nothing complicated in the question of how to use GLONASS. After installing the system, its control is done by specialists who take data from the server and generate reports. In private use, you can install a special application and get information about the route, coordinates, consumption, etc.

GLONASS system what it is and how it works

What GLONASS is today many people know. But exactly how the system functions, what it is intended for and what is necessary for its efficient use is often left “out of the question”.

To regard GLONASS simply as a satellite navigation system means to totally simplify its functionality. Today, it can be used not only by the military (as it was originally intended), but also by commercial enterprise owners and ordinary motorists.

What is GLONASS and how does the system work?

GLONASS is a Russian development which provides precise positioning of an object in space with minimum error. To determine the coordinates, special equipment is used, which, with the support of ground infrastructure, communicates with a network of satellites placed in earth orbit.

What is GLONASS and how it works

Principle of operation of the system:

  • A receiving and transmitting device, a terminal, is installed on the object whose coordinates are to be determined.
  • For positioning, the terminal sends a request to the satellites. The more satellites respond to the request (ideally – at least 4), the more accurate the coordinates will be determined.
  • The response signal comes to the terminal, the software complex which analyzes the delay time for different satellites. Based on the analysis of response information, the coordinates of the object on which the receiving equipment is installed are determined.

With constant operation of the terminal (i.e. regular sending of requests and analysis of responses) the GLONASS system can determine not only the position, but also the speed of the object. When moving the accuracy of positioning is reduced, but it is still sufficient for the navigation equipment could perform a binding coordinates of the object to the electronic map of the area and build a route.

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Comparison with the main analogue – the GPS system

It is impossible to give a complete answer to the question “What is GLONASS?” without comparing it with its “closest competitor” – the global positioning system GPS. Work on both systems began in the USSR and the USA at approximately the same time – in the early 80s of the last century. After the satellite navigation came out from full control of the military and began to be used for commercial purposes, GLONASS and GPS evolved quite similar scenarios.

Comparison of GLONASS and GPS

Both systems operate based on constellations of 24 satellites in geostationary orbits. But they also have differences:

  • The Russian satellites move in 3 planes (consequently, 8 devices per one orbit).
  • The GPS satellites have 4 orbits with 6 devices in each.
  • The GPS positioning error is somewhat lower, but both systems determine the coordinates rather accurately.
  • The main advantage of GPS is almost 100% coverage of the world. GLONASS completely covers the territory of the Russian Federation, but outside the Russian Federation there are areas where the signal from the satellites is very weak or completely absent.
  • Also, there are nuances of a technical nature: the service from the U.S. uses CDMA coding, and the Russian – more complicated and therefore more power-consuming coding FDMA. Because of this, the service life of GLONASS satellites decreases, so there is a need to put equipment into orbit more often.

It is difficult to speak about a definite advantage of one of the two described navigation systems. Moreover, most often the equipment for remote positioning is combined: it can work with both GPS satellites and GLONASS equipment.

Scope of application

Hardware and software, which gives the opportunity to determine the location of the object using satellite network, can solve several problems.

The main function, which is performed by household GLONASS terminals – global navigation for transport. Such equipment is an advanced map: the coordinates determined by the terminal are superimposed on the location plan and show the optimal direction to a given point.

GLONASS system for vehicles monitoring

In addition, the equipment can be used:

  • In transport monitoring systems. Enterprises that have to monitor the movement of many vehicles (buses for passenger transportation, trucks) on a regular or irregular routes, gets the opportunity to see at any time, where there is a particular vehicle. For this purpose vehicles are equipped with GLONASS-terminals, which are connected to the software.

In addition to direct tracking of vehicles, the dispatcher can monitor compliance with speed limits, driver’s work/rest mode, cargo safety in refrigerator compartments and fuel level in tanks/tanks. To solve these tasks, additional equipment can be installed and connected to the terminal connectors.

  • In unmanned vehicles. For drones, the satellite navigation system along with sensors that read the environment parameters are the main control elements. Such equipment is already being produced and tested – including on Russian highways. Experts predict an increase in the share of unmanned vehicles on the roads in the near future.
  • In anti-theft systems. The GLONASS tracker, covertly installed in the car, can give an alarm if the car coordinates change without the owner’s knowledge. In addition, the equipment can periodically send messages indicating the location of the car – this will make it easier for the owner or law enforcement representatives to find a stolen car.
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GLONASS for transport control

If GPS is traditionally more popular in the segment of navigation systems for drivers, GLONASS takes a more favorable niche in the commercial segment. This is due to the active development of remote vehicle monitoring systems.

GLONASS vehicle monitoring

Such systems traditionally include a network of GLONASS terminals installed on the vehicles and dispatching software. Implementation of monitoring involves its integration with the logistic scheme of the enterprise.

The main task is to coordinate the work of the transport department and track the movement of vehicles carrying passengers or cargo in real time. The coordinates of each vehicle are detected by satellite at pre-set intervals and are superimposed onto the map, so that the dispatcher or head of department receives the most objective and up-to-date information.

In addition, transport monitoring can be used for:

  • Increase the level of discipline. The navigation terminal monitors the movement of the vehicle on the route, eliminating the unnecessary use of equipment and downtime. Any unplanned stop or deviation from the route should be motivated by the driver, and the dispatcher can contact him immediately when a violation is detected.
  • Increasing traffic safety and reducing accidents. The GLONASS system makes it possible to control driving speed by signaling the dispatcher about speed exceeding. In addition, monitoring allows you to track overtime for compliance with work and rest mode. This not only reduces the risk of accidents due to overwork, but also ensures that there are no fines when checking tachograph readings.
  • Control of fuel level. Installation of fuel level sensors and their connection to the terminal practically completely excludes the possibility of fuel theft.


GLONASS satellite positioning system can solve another task, emergency alarm of an accident. For this purpose, it can install ERA-GLONASS terminal (EVEOS) with SIM-card to work in mobile network and “emergency button” to call the dispatcher.

What is ERA GLONASS and how does it work?

If the car is equipped with ERA-GLONASS during production or delivery to the Russian Federation, in addition to the terminal with the call button it is also equipped with sensors that respond to damage and automatically give an alarm in case of impact or rollover.

The main task of the system is to notify the emergency services (traffic police, Ministry of Emergency Situations, ambulance) of the accident by sending them the coordinates of the accident site and the basic information about the car and passengers. In this case, the call center dispatcher receives a signal about the accident, he also transmits the received information to the rescue services.

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Features of emergency information operation

  • The alarm can be activated automatically (impact/turn sensor triggered) or in manual mode (driver or a passenger pressed the button).
  • After the signal is received by the call center, the dispatcher communicates with the car in voice mode (the terminal design includes a speaker and a microphone). This is necessary to avoid false calls or accidental triggering of the “SOS” button.
  • If no answer is received, or the driver confirms the fact of the accident, the information is transmitted to the rescue services.

The automatic operation of the system minimizes the time between an accident and the arrival of help at the scene of the accident. This significantly reduces traffic fatalities, because ambulances and rescuers have more time to provide qualified assistance.


The reliability of the system is very high: the terminals are supplied with self-contained power sources and even if the onboard power supply is cut off during an accident, they will remain operational for at least several hours. This is quite enough to determine the coordinates, as well as to communicate with the call center.

The SIM-card installed in the terminal provides a stable connection with the dispatcher wherever there is coverage of the mobile network. To ensure reliable communication, the devices are equipped with effective antennas for cellular communication and GLONASS satellites. Usually with a good quality signal data is transmitted via GPRS (3G modem is used), in case of problems with the connection the terminal can send service SMS with basic information for emergency services.

Both the communication session with the dispatcher and the call for help by activating the emergency information of the rescue services are completely free of charge.

What data is collected?

The AEOS is obligatory for all the vehicles that are put into circulation in the territory of the Russian Federation. But if new cars are equipped with terminals, alarm buttons, and sensors at the factory, the owner must install ERA-GLONASS at his own expense when importing equipment; otherwise it will be impossible to operate the car in Russia.

ERA-GLONASS terminal

One of the arguments against equipping a car with ERA-GLONASS is the possible tracking of the vehicle via satellite network (i.e. illegal transfer of personal data to special services) or wiretapping of the salon. In practice, the terminals do not have a tracking function, so it is impossible to track the car without the owner’s knowledge.

According to the information from the manufacturer, the terminal collects and transmits only such data:

  • The coordinates of the crash site.
  • Speed at the time of the accident.
  • Type of alarm triggering (shock/turn sensor, forced call).
  • Car data: number, make, engine type (gasoline/diesel).
  • Number of seat belts fastened.

Also the information received by the dispatcher during the conversation with the driver is transmitted to the rescue services.

Today GLONASS is not just a navigator, which allows not getting lost on unfamiliar roads. The possibilities of satellite positioning are much wider and they can be used both by an ordinary car owner and the head of commercial company with an extensive car fleet.

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