We all love the chase sequences in action movies, but a new technology used in the automotive industry may soon minimize the need for such dangerous chases. The growing prevalence of vehicle theft and loss of cargos from fleet vehicles has now made it a priority for vehicle owners to use remote shutdown systems. In the event that the vehicle is stolen, it can be immobilized remotely using these systems. Banks and finance companies can also such devices to shut down vehicles for which the loan repayments are not being made on time. When borrowers default on payments, lenders can use remote shutdown technology to disable the ignition of the vehicle. Police can use the technology to remotely find and disable stolen cars so that criminals can no longer use them as getaway vehicles.
Currently, in fleet vehicles, the remote vehicle lockdown devices are being integrated with a comprehensive security device which provides complete vehicle security inclusive of GPS tracking and anti-theft security alarm. Many leading auto manufacturers like General Motors and Scania AB are actively involved in the development of this technology. There are concerns about whether the use of this technology would infringe on the privacy rights of individuals as it would be possible always to track the whereabouts of those who are driving the vehicles. Nevertheless, the benefits far outweigh the cons and the technology is slowly being adopting in different markets spread across the globe.
On a global basis, the largest market for remote vehicle shutdown technology is North America, followed by Europe, South America, Asia Pacific and the MENA region. In view of growing concerns about safety, North America market is expected to be the top market for such systems. In Europe too, demand has continued to grow. China and India are other markets that hold immense potential for this technology and demand is expected to grow significantly in these markets. MENA market, especially UAE serves as a hub for global trade and many companies engaged in logistics and fleet services are likely to incorporate this technology in their vehicles.
The technology essentially comprises a starter interrupt device that makes it possible to remotely disable the ignition if a borrower defaults on loans or if the vehicle is stolen. The system uses blasts of electromagnetic pulses to shut off the car engines that are targeted by the device. The ignitions cut out as a safety measure as these signals confuse the electronic systems installed within the car. The devices are often equipped with GPS technology, so that police or lenders can track the movements of the vehicle and locate them.
This technology might look like something that belongs in science fiction, but we thought the same of electric cars and drones that could fly. They are very much a reality and so are cars that could be started and disabled remotely. We might have the keys to the vehicle but we might no longer be able to start them if we fail to make our car loan payments on time.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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