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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Gadget 'halts thieves in tracks'
Car
The driver communicates with the car
A new security system that literally stops car thieves in their tracks has been launched in the UK, giving drivers another option in the ongoing fight against crime.

Immobilisers and tracking systems are nothing new but one company has gone one further to introduce a system which allows drivers who know their car has been stolen to actually stop it wherever it may be.

Car theft is an increasing problem in the UK, with about 360,000 being stolen last year and only a 50% recovery rate.

Created in Italy, the I-Mob system uses mobile phone technology to communicate with a car letting the owner know it has been stolen.

The owner can then key in a code on his mobile phone and the car engine will automatically cut out the next time the driver stops.

A tracker device working on GPS means the police will be able to locate the car to within two metres.

Hotwire

There is even a way to communicate with the unsuspecting thief using a mobile which goes through a loudspeaker into the car.

It can be a two-way relationship with the car, as it contacts the rightful owner if it detects a problem such as being broken into or driven away.

There has been an upward trend for car thieves to save themselves the bother of "hotwiring" a car by stealing the keys from the owner.

Up to 7m worth of cars were stolen this way last year either during muggings, burglaries or reaching in through letterboxes to retrieve a set of keys.

I-Mob also claims to have the solution to this by recognising if it is the owner that is driving the car or someone else and once again getting on the phone to alert the real owner.

Simon Allen, managing director of I-Mob, said: "We have already sold a number of the systems in the UK and there are various reasons why people have fitted them.

"For some it is a simple case of being passionate about their car and for others it is about caring about the occupants.

See also:

20 Feb 02 | Business
14 Oct 01 | England
11 Apr 02 | Business
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