Police Could Soon Control Stolen Cars Using Text Message

by Charlotte Cardingham
Posted by Hannah on 23 January 2009
Police Could Soon Control Stolen Cars Using Text Message

Text message technology could soon be used by the authorities to stop car-thieves in their tracks.

According to reports, the Home Office is currently trialing technology that could enable police to control stolen cars using text message.

Should it be deemed successful, police would have the power to stop cars remotely, providing an alternative to the use of more crude vehicle-capturing techniques such as stingers, and reducing the need for high speed car chases.

This trial forms just part of the Home Office’s effort to reduce the number of civilian and police deaths resulting from high speed pursuits; they have also appealed to a number of independent companies for suggestions as to other ‘vehicle stopping' technologies that could be implemented on a wide scale basis.

A spokesperson for the Home Office commented: "If new technology can help police stop vehicles more safely and more effectively then it is right that we look at all the options carefully.

"We have asked companies to propose possible electronic solutions and we will be in a position to say more once all the options have been properly tested and fully evaluated."

The text-message technology being trialed is similar to so-called “intelligent transport systems” already available to the public.

Cars would be fitted with a receiver which can be located via satellite navigation and then, if the vehicle is stolen or used in a crime, used to take control of the vehicle.

Using text message technology to communicate with the vehicle's on-board computer, police would be able to sound the car’s horn, flash the headlights, slow its traveling speed and, once the car became stationary, immobilise it completely.

Speaking on behalf of the Police Federation, Alan Jones commented: "If the police service can use technology to its benefit to improve policing and ensure it is far safer for both police officers and members of the public, then ultimately we should applaud those developments.

"We also recognise that it is sensitive area and we need to have a proper debate and discussion about where it may go."

It is not yet clear when the Home Office will announce the results of these trials and, if deemed successful, exactly how this technology would be implemented.


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Your Comments

on 31 Mar 2009 00:31
when will it be out
Roger Webb
on 30 Mar 2009 21:29
If its possible to "immobilise it completely" then how can it get stolen in the first place?
on 28 Jan 2009 17:59
The gov can already track you by your car. All GM with Onstar they can punch up and track you , and yes they can lock your doors and shut off your car some other manufactures cars as well with Onstar, This tecnology is here now, also the black box they have installed in cars they dont tell you about.
on 26 Jan 2009 04:01
isnt it illegal to text while driving?
Jen Murdock
on 25 Jan 2009 20:48
This has the potential to become SCARY and ABUSED technology. The more a few people can control the masses and the more control they have means less and less freedoms for everyone else. It's a slippery slope when this stuff becomes implemented, like they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions (pun intended). A great reason to NOT get a new car. Enjoy what freedoms you have while you still can.
deborah schneider
on 24 Jan 2009 19:28
I would hope this would be an "optional" accessory...
on 24 Jan 2009 17:59
What a wonderful idea. it could even eventually be used to control the vehicles of those who oppose government policies, those who are behind in tax payments or just anyone that the controllers want to sideline. If we can can just get that exploding squibb implanted into everyones forehead there will be complete agreement and harmony with all government mandates. Can't wait!
on 24 Jan 2009 17:32
From my personal knowledge, it is possible to STOP a vehicle by implanting a "chip" within the distributor, at the factory where the car or other vehicle is being manufactured. If the police wish to stop a vehicle for any reason they lock on via satelite and the vehicle is stopped. This technology is available. Check with GM, Ford and Chrysler motor companies. They have the technology and any answers to questions.
on 24 Jan 2009 17:04
This is an awful idea. What happens to innocent motorists when the system fails, actuates the wrong vehicle or the police simply type in an incorrect code. Some innocent person is going to have their car stop in high speed traffic and get rear-ended or worse. This is a 1984, BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING dopey idea. It's too risky and controlling for a free and reasonable society.
ralph taylor
on 24 Jan 2009 14:43
First car theives, then DUI's, then mere tickets. What if they accidently text the wrong car - that could cause an accident. This is too much police control.
on 24 Jan 2009 12:45
Using text messaging is an expensive solution . It could cause 1 car to stop suddenly within a lane of moving cars . It also requires that the number plate number is known . Much better to use a far simpler and cheaper coded UHF remote control receiver that responds to a signal from the police car . That way all cars in the immediate beam will slow down . The police can then detain the target car and release the other cars .
on 24 Jan 2009 08:39
This could be a good thing and a bad thing. If they can stop a stolen car, reduce life loss, good. With all the technology in computers and phones today, a bad situation could also work against us, say maybe being able to text message an airplane full of people down. This would be devestating.
on 24 Jan 2009 04:55
cops love high speed chases , guns and all the power behind a badge. therfore i am certain they will love the power to control our cars and anything else they can get their hands on. they will not use this for only stolen cars, but whatever or whomever they deem will need to be stopped remotely. putting such power in the hands of cops will be a danderous thing
dr de silva, Cincinnati
on 24 Jan 2009 04:31
this is already available in USA. with Cadillcas and some others, the can be located, slowed down, immobilized, opened remotely and with many other features, including automatic dialling of police and ambulance, in case of an accident and the driver is unavle to use the voice activated phone.
on 24 Jan 2009 02:46
As long as the system can't be hacked, and what happens if the mobile signal is jammed !! The problem is keys can be stolen and even entire ECU's can be swapped out.
Willy Brown Balls
on 24 Jan 2009 01:09
Why don't ye just take over the whole god damn world while your at it?....
Angela McMillan
on 24 Jan 2009 00:27
I think that this is a great idea, but there should also be an investigation commission with a limit of 500 complaints before an investigation is set; this is for those who are investigating so that there is no abuse of power with this system. there should also be a change of guard in case of corruption with in the investingation not always detailing the (GUARD). Privacy is still important even though the citizens have to be protected.
Jon Harms
on 24 Jan 2009 00:24
Until Hackers come along and start shutting down everyones car.
Mary Cooper
on 23 Jan 2009 23:48
I think it would be a very good deterent to car thieves and they certainly would not be using their own car to commit a crime if they had a device such as this installed. I only hope the price to install this would be within reason of the normal driver.
on 23 Jan 2009 23:34
sounds stupid. so, the hackers will be able to sms the car, stop it, pull out the driver and steal it. possible? just a question of brute force attack.
on 23 Jan 2009 23:07
Seems like a really good idea... However Would it not be a better idea to use this technology prevent the cars from being stolen in the first place? If the car was immobolised when the thief entered, the car would be unable to be stolen. It seems to me that it would fix the problem of cars being stolen, and not put this power in the hands of the police to be able to stop any car at will Just my opinion! Jawlor
Lakeview Terrace
on 23 Jan 2009 22:22
Yet another unnecessary sequel, this time brought to reality...
Dale from Dallas
on 23 Jan 2009 20:33
Oh yeah, there's a technology that could _never_ be subverted for evil purposes, and could _never_ be disabled.
on 23 Jan 2009 20:26
Also makes carjacking easier once someoneo cracks the system. Or terrorism. Stop all cars, and then do something evil.