Interest Check: GPS Tracker Hardware
I'm looking at designing a device that will have built in GPS tracker, as well as GSM/3G module (also Australia's Telstra NextG compatible (850Mhz UMTS)) to track your vehicle without having to have the CarPC switched on.. It will also be able to provide your CarPC with GPS data via USB (virtual com port), and Internet over Ethernet (or also USB, depending on how we write the drivers)...
The device will use a 200MHz Linux SOC (System On Chip) module, with 64Mb SDRAM, and 1GiB NAND flash. It will use a PCIE mini Sierra Wireless MC8790V, which does up to 7.2Mbps over 3G, and has built in GPS. Theoretically, it will be able to use any PCIE mini card, we'd just have to write drivers for it.
Also 8 Digital Outputs, 8 Digital Inputs and 4 Analog In's (as well as internal input voltage monitoring), that is controllable over ethernet, so you could get steering wheel control input, temperature sensors, etc (just like all the other USB control devices out there).
The theory is that this device can provide GPS and Internet connection to any CarPC whilst on, as well as when the CarPC is switched off, provide vehicle tracking in case of theft and the CarPC isn't switched on..
The actual cost of the unit without the PCIEmini card will be around the $450(usd) mark, whilst the MC8790V will cost approx another $180(usd) (unless you can find any compatible PCIEmini device that does GPS and GSM). $630(usd) total for a tracking unit that doubles as a GPS and GSM connector, includes professionally machined aluminum case & conformal coating on PCB's to prevent corrosion etc. I'm still not sure if online tracking costs will be free or a small monthly fee, or if we work with other tracking websites to allow the product to be used with their website as well.