A text-message to your stolen car, ordering it to shut down, is being heralded as a new way to thwart auto thefts. Engineering students at Canada's University of Saskatchewan say they have developed a program that integrates cellphone technology and the computer system on most cars.
Michael Siourounis and two classmates devised the system as a project for their senior-year studies. "You text your vehicle and inform it that it has been stolen," Siourounis explained. "It will actually initiate a sequence of events that causes the car's internal computers, that we don't modify at all, to think that the car has overheated."
Shae Pederson, one of the other engineering students on the project, said the first signal to the engine tells it to go into a limited power mode. Pederson said the reduced power provides a measure of safety to the driver.
"That 30 seconds gives them the time — the thief or whoever — time to pull over. And then after that it will shut the car down right away."
The next signal comes from the car back to the cellphone, the students said.
"Then an onboard GPS unit on our device texts you back the location of the vehicle," Siourounis said. "So then you can send the police to go recover it or go get it yourself," he added.
Siourounis said the prototype cost about $600, but expected the price would come down if it were commercialized. (info from CBC)