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“Nationals October 2019

Top Ways Invention and Technology Are Tackling Car Thefts

| August 25, 2022, 08:00 AM

Car Theft

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

There is an intense battle between car thieves and car makers. With the advent of technology, most manufacturers now develop their vehicles with heavy contributions from software engineers.

Consequently, this has forced car thieves to reinvent their theft skills as the use of crowbars and coat hangers becomes useless.

A team of researchers led by Flavio Garcia, a computer scientist at the University of Birmingham in 2013, discovered a hack that allows the ignition of Volkswagen cars without having to use a key.

Later in 2016, Garcia and a new team of researchers discovered how to hack the door system of Volkswagen cars released since 1995.

As part of their research, scientists from Birmingham University and Kasper & Oswald, an engineering firm, discovered a way to unlock almost 100 million cars, including Volkswagen, Ford, Opel, Peugeot, Nissan, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Citroen, Romeo, and Alfa.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that about $7.4 billion had been lost to auto theft in 2020. At least 810,400 vehicles were declared missing in the same year.

Pandemic, which significantly affects the economy worldwide, was identified as one of the significant contributory factors to car thefts.

As seen in the case of Volkswagen vulnerabilities, the manufacturer cannot provide optimal security of any car. Over the years, different inventions and technologies have been used to mitigate car thefts.

GPS Tracker

Discreetly installing a GPS tracker in a vehicle can help detect its location when stolen. The GPS tracking device uses the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network.

The device sends unique signals to the network, after which the provided data is used to compute the tracked vehicle’s current location, direction, time, and speed.

Radio signal repelling pouches

Many cars today have the keyless feature. Manufacturers developed this in their bid to outsmart thieves who have learned how to start a car by shorting wires pulled from under the dash.

As usual, car thieves have also gotten smart. Some of them make use of devices that could trick a car into transmitting a coded message from the key. Obtaining the key allows them to act as if they are in possession of the key. With this, they would be able to unlock the door and start the car without any issue.

When the key is kept in a radio signal repelling pouches such as Faraday pouches, the device used by auto thieves will be unable to obtain the required coded message.

PIN Start

In an attempt to tackle keyless car theft, some car manufacturers, such as Tesla in some models of their vehicle, incorporated a four-digit PIN feature. This additional security is required after the keyless technology unlocks the car.

Without a correct PIN, the car will refuse to start irrespective of whether the key is in the vicinity or not.

Car tracing platform

Numerous online platforms are created by the government and individuals/private firms for stolen vehicles.

A simple search of the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) will crosscheck the database to see if the car was stolen.

VIN is a 17-character – a mixture of digits and capital letters, and it is unique for every car. From the VIN, you can identify the vehicle’s features, the manufacturer, and the plant it was assembled.

Tonneau covers

Tonneau covers such as hard bed cover for F150 protect loads in your truck bed from theft. They are made using tough materials like fiberglass.

Soft tonneau covers, even though not as tough, can prevent luggage in a trunk bed from being sighted by thieves.

Steering Wheel Brake Lock

The lock is designed to restrict the steering wheel and brake pedal movement. Car thieves may break into your car, but with the steering and brake pedal locked, it would be impossible to drive the car away.

It is usually made from materials that can resist hammering and cut attempts.

Car alarms

Car alarms come with sensors that are triggered whenever there is a change in the position of your vehicle. They can contain between two to ten sensors. Some of the sensors include;
●      Door sensors. When active, the sensor alerts the alarm whenever there is a change in the position of the car door. That is why when the door is opened; the alarm is triggered.
●      Impact sensors. Thieves with knowledge of the door sensor installed in a car can instead break the window to gain access. Car alarms with impact sensors can detect this.
●      Microphone sensors. Car thieves may decide to use low-impact force to gain access to the car. A microphone sensor triggers the alarm whenever an unusual sound is detected.
●      Tilt sensor. A car thief in fear of triggering the alarm and alerting the owner of a car may decide to move it away from the location using a tow truck. If the vehicle has a tilt sensor, this will trigger the alarm as the orientation is sure to change.
●      Proximity sensor. This does not give a thief any chance of getting close as the alarm is triggered whenever an object is observed to be getting closer to the car.

Category: NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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