Feeds

Hey car thief! Gonna shut you down

GM heralds post-theft switch-off

Security for virtualized datacentres

General Motors is prepping a carjack buster that gradually slows stolen cars to a halt by turning down engine power.

The technology, dubbed Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, can allow General Motors' OnStar advisors, working with law enforcement officers, to send a signal to a stolen vehicle that reduces engine power. When police reach the car and judge it can be safely stopped without causing an obstruction, they can ask OnStar officials to switch the engine off.

The thief may be warned though a motor's radio speakers to pull over and surrender the vehicle because police are on his tail, AP reports. The car's emergency lights will flash as the warning is issued.

GM will include the technology as a voluntary add-on starting with 20 of its 2009 models - about 1.7 million vehicles. T

GM's carjack-buster builds on OnStar's global positioning system-based service, which is credited with helping to find 700-800 stolen cars in the US a month. That service, which has an estimated five million subscribers, also enables drivers to call for assistance if they get into trouble. OnStar operators will contact the driver of the vehicle if sensors discover a crash. OnStar costs from $16.95 a month. When it goes live, the stolen-vehicle slowdown function, will come with even basic forms of the service.

GM is promoting the service as a way to cut the 300 deaths arising every year from police car chases in the US. OnStar president Chet Huber said GM is willing to license the technology to other car manufacturers to help bring the numbers down.

Other suppliers, such as LoJack, sell technology capable of tracking stolen vehicles but the ability to force stolen motors to a halt is something of an innovation. Better still, of course would be technology that made a stolen car impossible to start.

The major downside of the technology is that anybody who cracks or games the system might be able to remotely shut down vehicles, inconveniencing not just their owners but anyone else who's using the same stretch of road. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.