Managing Editor, Features
SpaceX’s Swarm Subsidiary Launches Satellite-Based Tracking Device
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Swarm, a satellite data service provider owned by SpaceX, has introduced a simple asset-tracking device that can function anywhere in the world using the company’s global satellite network.
The Swarm Asset Tracker can be used to track a broad range of equipment, vehicles and other remote assets for businesses operating in a variety of industries, including trucking and transportation.
“It is application agnostic,” said Sara Spangelo, co-founder of Swarm and senior director of satellite engineering at SpaceX. “You can put it on a truck. You can put it on a crane. You can put it on construction equipment. You can put it on a personal vehicle and track it wherever it goes.”
The product, launched in September, is geared toward tracking assets in remote locations that lack terrestrial network coverage.
“We provide connectivity regardless of where you go. Particularly in those rural and remote locations is where we shine,” Spangelo said. “That’s really what Swarm is trying to do — provide connectivity for those who don’t have it through conventional terrestrial means.”
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s aerospace company, acquired Swarm in November 2021.
Swarm has established a network of about 160 tiny satellites in orbit to provide its tracking services. Those satellites can ride along on SpaceX launches, thus reducing costs.
The Swarm Asset Tracker is available for $99 along with a $5 monthly subscription per device.
The product is designed to work right out of the box. Customers can set up the device within minutes by simply removing it from its shipping box, turning it on and mounting it to the asset to be tracked.
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“It’s easy to set up, easy to use,” Spangelo said. “No friction added.”
Swarm said its Asset Tracker can run off rechargeable battery power for 6 months at its default setting of six GPS readings per day.
The device also features a motion-detection mode, in which the device can report location only when triggered to conserve power and extend the battery life.
Asset Tracker also has an external power connector that can be used to continuously power the device.
Users can access their asset location information through a web portal, which includes mapping and reporting features.