Vehicle disabling systems are used to prevent unauthorized users from initially operating a vehicle and to gradually decelerate and stop a vehicle in-transit under certain pre-determined conditions.
These systems can be designed to be activated for specific situations, such as unauthorized access or use of a vehicle; loss of communication with a driver; discovery of security violations; vehicle entry into unauthorized areas; vehicle departure from predetermined routes; prevention of engine damage due to detected system failures; crisis or emergency situations; and mandatory maintenance needs.
There are a number of types of vehicle disabling systems. Some utilize on-board electronics to immobilize the vehicle's engine or braking system to gradually decelerate a vehicle in transit or prevent its initial operation. Others can be engaged remotely using a combination of on-board computers integrated with wireless communications; or non-remotely, utilizing technologies that the driver, operator, or, in some instances, the vehicle itself could execute locally. The systems can be activated manually or automatically based on pre-programmed security conditions.
Remote vehicle disabling systems typically rely on a wireless communication system to provide their basic functionality. They can be integrated with panic buttons and on-board computers requiring user identification and/or password log-ins. For non-remote systems, a keypad or key-fob may be utilized as a part of these systems for arming, disarming, and controlling the security system at the asset itself. Non-remote manual systems can also involve the use of in-cab shut-off devices to other vehicle systems, such as electronic ignitions and air brakes.
Remote Vehicle Disabling Systems
Remote vehicle disabling systems provide authorized users at remote locations the ability to prevent an engine from starting, prevent movement of a vehicle, and to stop or slow an operating vehicle. Remote disabling allows a dispatcher or other authorized personnel to gradually decelerate a vehicle by downshifting, limiting the throttle capability, or bleeding air from the braking system from a remote location. Some of these systems provide advance notification to the driver that the vehicle disabling is about to occur. After stopping a vehicle, some systems will lock the vehicle's brakes or will not allow the vehicle's engine to be restarted within a certain timeframe.
Remote disabling systems can also be integrated into a remote panic and emergency notification system. In an emergency, a driver can send an emergency alert by pressing a panic button on the dashboard, or by using a key-fob panic button if the driver is within close proximity of the truck. Then, the carrier or other approved organization can be remotely alerted to allow a dispatcher or other authorized personnel to evaluate the situation, communicate with the driver, and/or potentially disable the vehicle.
Non-Remote Vehicle Disabling Systems
Non-remote vehicle disabling systems provide authorized users the ability to restrict or prevent vehicle operation in three ways: through the use of wireless technology when they are near the vehicle; through on-board actions by the driver/operator; or through a combination of both. Non-remote vehicle disabling systems include driver identification authentication technologies, tamper detection alerts, brake locks, and emergency notification panic buttons for disabling the truck in case of an emergency or other event.
A single sign-on module is utilized for driver authentication in order to initiate the operation of a vehicle. The driver uses passwords, pin numbers, or biometrics to start the vehicle and to access other on-board wireless communications applications. All activities related to the use of the vehicle are associated with the driver signed-in at the time. This information can be used for dispatch, driver performance, and driver log purposes.
Several different types of technologies can be used to non-remotely disable a vehicle. Panic buttons carried by the driver or within reach of the driver inside the vehicle can be activated to disable a vehicle or send out an emergency notification. Electronic ignition systems allow the driver to automatically activate the system when the key is removed from the ignition and reactivate the system when the key is replaced into the ignition. A relatively low-cost means of vehicle disabling is the utilization of a brake lock device to prevent the movement of the vehicle. A brake lock device shuts down the air line from the tractor to the air brakes in the tractor (and if hooked up, to the trailer). Release of the brake lock system is the only way to move the vehicle.
Important components of vehicle disabling systems are hardware mechanisms that restrict vehicle use. Some are on-board computer technologies that identify the driver to allow authorized use while preventing unauthorized use. Others utilize mobile communication technologies that allow a remote dispatcher or other operator to communicate with the driver and/or the vehicle, and if necessary, activate the vehicle disabling system.
Driver authentication is a vital part of many vehicle disabling systems. Intelligent on-board computers can be utilized for driver identification through global login access where a driver enters login information into a cab-based interface. Similar to a username and password on a computer system, global login is an authentication feature of some wireless communications systems. Through the use of a driver login process, the login information (user ID and password) entered into the truck-based interface by the driver is verified by preset procedures both locally on the vehicle and over the air using the wireless communication system. If this verification fails, various configurable alerts and resulting actions can be triggered up to and including vehicle disabling with the aid of an on-board computer.
Other authentication technologies utilized in several vehicle disabling systems range from PIN number entry to biometric-based systems. The most common biometric-based technologies for vehicle disabling utilize driver fingerprints. If the driver's fingerprint matches the fingerprint information on a biometric smart card carried by the driver, then the driver is verified and able to start the vehicle. If a match is not made, the vehicle cannot be started and the fleet dispatcher is typically notified of the failed attempt.
Vehicle disabling systems can be integrated with many on-board wireless communications systems that include other features, such as door sensors, cargo sensors, temperature sensors, electronic cargo seals, and trailer connection and disconnection systems. For example, if an on-board computer system detects a loss of signal from the communication network or tampering of electronic cargo seals, a pre-determined vehicle disabling protocol can be initiated.
Additional monitoring processes using on-board sensors that detect changes in load volume, door status, exposure to radiation, or temperature can a generate security alert notification that will trigger a vehicle disabling protocol. In vehicles that monitor trailer information, a vehicle disabling protocol can be prompted when a trailer has been disconnected from its assigned tractor or when a trailer door lock system has been violated.
Vehicle disabling protocols can also be activated by critical changes in the status of important vehicle systems. Since on-board computers monitor processes such as coolant temperature and engine oil pressure, a message can be sent to the driver and dispatcher about these conditions alerting them that systems are at unsafe levels. Then, a vehicle can be prevented from starting if unsafe system parameters are discovered prior to vehicle usage. Carriers with refrigerated units (reefers) are significant users of this feature.
Vehicle disabling can be utilized by authorized personnel with a wireless communication system's geo-fencing feature. Dispatchers or fleet operators can create a geo-fence or defined electronic boundary made up of geo-coded points for particular vehicles or routes. If a vehicle enters a restricted geo-fenced area, or exits the defined areas, the dispatcher or fleet operator can be alerted to take necessary actions to secure the vehicle. Currently, no systems have the capability of engaging automatic vehicle disablement for geo-fence violations.
Operations and Benefits
Depending on the actual vehicle disabling technologies utilized, fleet operators can have additional connectivity and communication with their drivers and vehicles compared with fleets not utilizing such technologies. When vehicle disabling systems are integrated with on-board communications and tracking systems, fleet managers can actively monitor security parameters, vehicle routes, performance, maintenance, and fuel usage?whether the vehicles are running locally or on a long-haul. These monitoring capabilities provide operational efficiency benefits for fleet management optimization by providing information about vehicle operation from origin to destination.
Vehicle disabling systems can improve secure operations of carriers who haul high-value or high-risk cargo, such as hazardous materials. Access can be limited to authorized drivers by dispatchers or fleet managers who can manage driver authentication codes and truck identifications, change codes over the air, and disable the vehicle, if necessary. To help prevent theft, a valid driver authentication code can be required before a vehicle can be started or moved. Also, if there is tampering with any integrated security device or fleet management system, the vehicle can be placed in a secure state and an alert can be sent over the air to the carrier. Carriers can also change driver authentication codes and secure a vehicle if a driver suddenly leaves the company, but still has access to the vehicle. The capability to disable the vehicle over the air is also available if dispatchers become aware of a stolen or hijacked vehicle. Even if a truck is moving, the vehicle's speed can be gradually reduced to allow the vehicle to be brought to a safe and controlled stop.
Technologies, such as ignition locks and brake locks can also be used to minimize vehicle theft by prohibiting vehicle movement. These security devices are permanently installed in the vehicle, and they must be utilized in order to operate the vehicle.
The cost of vehicle disabling systems depends upon the type of system installed (i.e., a simple on-board system versus a multi-functional system), the number of systems purchased, and the type of installation required.
The costs for less complex on-board systems (such as an ignition lock or brake lock) range from under $100 to over $300 per unit, plus installation costs. Installation for these units could be done by a local technician.
The costs for basic, non-wireless driver authentication systems utilizing keypad entry range from approximately $500 to $700 per vehicle, plus installation costs. Installation for some of these units could be completed by a local technician.
The costs for systems integrated with on-board wireless communications and multi-functional features range from approximately $2,000 to over $3,000 per vehicle, plus installation costs. Installation for some of these systems can be completed by a trained technician who is familiar with the technology. However, for technical and/or security reasons, some systems require manufacturer installation only.
In addition to installation costs, some vehicle disabling systems (especially remote monitoring systems) may also require a monthly fee for maintenance and monitoring.
How the UniTracking VTU Can Work For You.
Vehicle & Asset Tracking
Tracking of your vehicle can be done through the internet interface. As figure 1.1 above indicates, you will see the position of your vehicle after you complete a location request. You can display just one vehicle or as many as you require in your fleet. You will have the ability to zoom in and out on the map and see a display indicating the address information of each vehicle. Accuracy of the location data is 10 -30 feet.
* Remote Control Functions:
* Real Time GPS Location Request
* Door Lock & Unlock
* Starter Disable and Enable
* Set Geo-Fencing
* Automatic Position Reporting based on time or distance.
* Over speed detection and reporting
Remote Start Output On Tracking Device (Requires Remote Start Module)
Control functions of the Tracking system allow you to lock and unlock doors, interrupt the starter, remote start the vehicle or set reporting functions like geo-fence violations. Other applications for the control feature will allow starting of remote located vehicles, machinery such as Generators or refrigeration systems. What ever your application, its likely we have already encountered the challenge.
Notification and Event Notification Capabilities:
* Real Time GPS Position Report
* Alarm Trigger Report (** Must Have a vehicle alarm)
* Automatic Position Reporting
* Low Battery Notification
* Geo-Fence Violation Notification
* Excessive Speed Notification
When a particular event occurs such as an alarm activation tilting of the vehicle, low battery, Excessive Speed, the UniTracking system will notify you of this situation so you can take action. Notification can be sent through email, or high speed short message (SMS) sent to your cell phone.
The long held notion that "if a thief really wants to steal your car there’s nothing you can do" leaves many vehicle owners disheartened, asking themselves, "Does anything really work, what can I do"? Many forms of anti-theft systems from steering wheel locks to siren systems have made vain promises of vehicle protection but lack the ability to monitor the vehicle, and to "fight back". While a motor vehicle represents a person’s second largest expense next to their home, its nice to know there is an affordable vehicle security approach that promises maximum protection and safety. The UniTracking VTU is the answer to reducing your risk of auto crime, and damage to your vehicle from break and enter attempts to outright theft.
By using the government’s Global Positioning System (GPS), UniTracking VTU's vehicle monitoring, and location products provide you with the ability to monitor your vehicle from a remote safe location. Like your home alarm, without monitoring capability you may find the system less effective. UniTracking VTU bridges the gap and provides you with the ability to know when there is a security threat against you vehicle, and notifies you so you can take appropriate action.
UniTracking VTU's 24 hour / 365 days per year monitoring center provides automatic stolen vehicle recovery service to subscription customers the moment the attempted theft, or security threat occurs. By connecting to the vehicle’s factory-installed or aftermarket alarm, UniTracking VTU alerts the vehicle owner by phone, SMS cellular messaging, and e-mail within moments after the security system has been breached. The idea is to stop the threat in progress before the thief drives off with your vehicle.
When you receive notification of the threat, you can verify the situation from a safe distance and contact police to investigate and attend the crime in progress. This will ensure reduced risk of damage and quick action so your vehicle isn't driven away.
You will have the ability to track your vehicle over the internet and control functions on your vehicle such as interrupting the vehicle starter. By having this control the vehicle will not start. Much like an ignition disable device Unitracking VTU gives you remote control capability to deactivate the starter if someone has control of your keys.
The system can even be used in vehicles without alarms providing real-time stolen vehicle recovery virtually anywhere in North America where cellular service exists.
The UniTracking VTU also has the added benefit of controlling the vehicle using the Internet as a remote control device. Various control features can be integrated with an existing or aftermarket alarm to notify you when a function of your alarm has been breached. Additional control features allow you to lock, and unlock doors, sound the horn and lights, start the engine on cold days, provide side, impact notification. Vehicle control monitoring subscription plans start as low as $49.00 USD including activation. The basic subscription plan includes up to 20 transactions for basic monitoring.
As an additional benefit, the starter plan allows for the recovery of stolen and carjacked vehicles to be recovered without the usual monthly fees. A modest USD$49.00 activation fee provides customers with one year of call-in recovery service.
If more transactions are required we have subscription plans allowing from 25 transactions to 50,000 in the subscription agreement. To view our subscription plans click here You will require the Adobe Acrobat reader on your computer.
Imagine being able to see a whole fleet of vehicles or just one very important vehicle ...your own while you’re sitting in front of a computer in your office or home. The UniTracking VTU takes advantage of the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and combines it with telematics to provide an economical and easy to use system for vehicle tracking.
The UniTracking VTU can be used in areas where traditional tracking is unavailable such as rural and suburban areas. The UniTracking VTU has a wide range of applications but is most suitable for personal security, precious cargo tracking, and public safety; where up to the minute real-time tracking is essential.
We learn about the nature and scope of an advanced technology GPS vehicle tracking system here. Touted as the best, most fascinating and driver-oriented computerized device, the electronic road map detail containing GPS system is a boon for all those on the road, especially if they are uncertain of a certain terrain as the system is packed with vital and accurate information about road-routes, alternate routes, speed limits, landmarks, distance readings, memory back-tracking etc. to let a vehicle owner know just how to get anywhere.
But, why would anyone want to disable their GPS system, you may be wondering? We don't blame you for thinking this could be an alarming thing for you to deal with considering this device helps secure your vehicle and the user in many ways.
Let us first understand the nature of the GPS system to comprehend the reasons for anyone wanting to disable it: the geostationary positioned satellite helps track vehicles for the owner, who can do so from a remote location as well and with the speed of a computer - less than a few minutes. This helps retain the peace of mind for the owner who may have loaned the vehicle to someone, wants to keep track of where the driver goes when sent on an errand, if the teenager with a learner's driving license is safe on the road-trip or whether he is on the right track when driving cross-country. All these are different but very common scenarios that a standard GPS system can help give information regarding the car's whereabouts to the owner sitting elsewhere.
Sometimes, people are suspicious of new technology which they cant get a hang of, especially old-timers or the while they are keen on buying the latest model car from the showroom, they may hope to get a discount on the final price by doing away with some of the bells and whistles so they ask for the GPS system to be disabled.
But, most new auto-buyers will be rest-assured of their big purchase being safe with the GPS system in place in the vehicle as not only does this act as an on-road guide, giving tips and updates on different aspects of driving, but it also acts as a reliable theft deterrent, so helps reduce insurance rates for car-owners. This is because with the easy availability of so many GPS fitted cars today, most insurance companies offer discounts to policy holders with GPS on their cars since it is an effective anti-theft protection.
Another scenario, which is not very pleasant to consider but happens all the time is the case of a cheating spouse or lover who may want to disable their GPS vehicle tracking system as they don't want their partner to know where they've been to i.e. with the other person. Teenagers not comfortable with all the checks up on them by over-bearing parents wanting a minute by minute update on where they've been may also want to disable their GPS system in the car as this may be looked upon as overly intrusive and an invasion of their privacy.
But, the unfortunate part is that the GPS system can't be easily disabled as it needs to be completely removed from the placement below carriage; if this unique magnetic box is located elsewhere, you'd best consult with a mechanic!
GPS car tracking or vehicle tracking is often used for covert tracking of the driver in the car. We will not look to this kind of applications, but rather the business variant for which GPS asset tracking would be a better name. Cars, trucks, trailers, railcars, containers and boats can be tracked, using GPS car tracking.
The market for GPS vehicle tracking systems is considered as one of the fasted growing markets for GPS applications. There are many levels of sophistication, but what all systems have in common is a GPS receiver and software to put the tracking results on a map. The differences in mapping programs are huge and it is very difficult to judge in advance how well these software solutions will perform.
Two main categories of GPS car tracking solutions are the ‘passive’ systems and the ‘real time’ systems. Passive systems store the gathered data in their internal memory and the owner has only access to the data when the unit returns to the base. Real time systems send the data at regular intervals to the manufacturer’s database and the user can read these through a website. Other systems can deliver data directly to the user’s cell phone on demand.
We have distinguished five categories of GPS vehicle tracking systems and will look in further detail to different brands and models.
Passive GPS car tracking systems
Data is transferred to a desktop computer through a cable (RS232)
GPSTracking Technologies has 4 passive GPS car tracking models in their program. The TravelEyes 2 Plus is for monitoring the travel activities of private vehicles. It is smaller than a deck of cards and keeps records of locations, mileage, destination and speed. Includes trip planning feature and a complete US map with street names and Reports Software. The Shadow Tracker Jr. is designed for small company fleets. The Shadow Tracker Performer has more memory and the Shadow Tracker Pro is DGPS ready and has 2 MB of memory.
LandAirSea delivers the Past Track, a non-real time GPS data recording and analysis system. For applications such as employee theft (property or time), reckless driving or analyzing your routes, Past Track is the perfect solution. To review the recorded data, you simply pull the memory card from the GPS unit and upload it to your computer with a standard compact flash card reader. Memory cards are now available that can store 5 years of driving data.
The GPS Cube from CommLinx Solutions Pty Ltd is a miniature GPS data logger / tracking system measuring only 63 x 57 x 35mm and powered from a single 9V battery. By using careful power management combined with a movement detection system it gives up to one week of typical tracking using a standard 9V Alkaline battery and up to one month using a 9V Lithium battery. Transfer of logged data is performed using the supplied infrared adapter (requires free RS-232 serial port) and the software supplied allows downloading and configuration of the unit.
Data is transferred to a desktop computer via a short range radio link
CTi has developed a passive GPS car tracking device that does not need operator intervention. The data you need is automatically transmitted by short range radio frequency from the device to the Base Station when the vehicle is back at your base area. You can playback the data on the CTiGPS-2000 tracking software and Exception Report Software.
Real time GPS car tracking systems
Data is sent through a cellular phone network to vendor’s base. Customer can read data via vendor’s website
CTi has developed a solar powered GPS vehicle tracking unit that is great for trailers, cargo and trucks. Alerts you via Email or fax if unit moves from area. The unit is not visible from the ground.
Trackn GPS Vehicle Location and Tracking is an Internet-based tracking system for North America, Canada and Mexico. Product features are: remote door unlock, low battery notification, instant vehicle location 24/7, message notification, electronic fencing, starter immobilizer, speed notification, alarm reporting and insurance savings. You can communicate with the unit through your personal cellular phone.
Rocky Mountain Tracking Inc. delivers the LandAirSea GPS 7100-A, which is meant to recover stolen vehicles. Use the 7100 as a vehicle recovery system, and pay NO FEES unless your vehicle is stolen. In the event that a vehicle is stolen, a user may request an update (called a Ping) to locate the vehicle. It will cost only 25 cents to Ping a vehicle. The GPS 7100 unit is a real time tracking system that accurately shows location, speed, and travel direction, with no monthly fees. Pay only for what you use. Other key features include: ability to disable vehicle if stolen, notification of airbag deployment and alarm activation.
Data is sent via satellites to vendor’s base. User can read data via vendor’s website
Axonn, L.L.C. provides the AXTracker, a self-contained satellite based mobile asset tracking device. It features a compact rugged enclosure designed to attach easily to the top of a cargo container, railcar or trailer. AXTracker sends information to Globalstar satellites and the processed information is available to the client via the Internet. As total packaged solution it requires no harness, no external power and no antennas. In addition to location reporting AXTracker has 4 Customizable Alarms which can report conditions such as door open, temperature drop/rise, smoke etc.
LandAirSea has the Mobile Watch Digital real time GPS car tracking unit. It uses a Dual-Mode CDMA wireless modem, which provides nationwide digital cellular coverage for the USA. A compact flash memory card stores historical data. The system provides instant location with no time delay and you can use your cellular phone to pinpoint location. Can alert your cell phone when movement is detected. The MobileWatch viewing software operates on a desktop computer with Internet access.
Bluewater Security Professionals sells the Mobile Locating Unit (MLU) real-time GPS car tracking system. It is an ‘on-demand’ system that provides low monthly monitoring rates. The list of features includes Electronic Fencing, Alarm reporting, Remote Starter Disable/Enable and Low Battery Notification.
Data is sent via a cellular phone network to the client’s cell phone
Security Concepts manufactures WorldTracker, which uses the voice channel of an already installed GSM cell phone. Using your PC you contact the tracker from your home or office phone, without going through the Internet, and instantly display the target vehicle on your computer with a moving street map. No monthly fees. New options allow the WorldTracker to shut the vehicle off remotely or call the owner in the event their vehicle is stolen.
Laipac offers the Starfinder 1, an automatic vehicle location (AVL) device for GSM, GPRS, CDMA and TDMA. It can be programmed over the air to set up with I/O ports to receive emergency functions like road side assistance or disable the ignition. It’s ideal for stolen car recovery, fleet management, rental car monitoring, road services, boating and many others. It has a programmable Geo-Fence feature, sleep and stand-by mode power-saving and a backup battery.