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SoCoder -> Blogs Home -> Blogs


 
Mog
Created : 09 September 2010
 
System : Linux

Anti-Vehicle theft idea

Yeah, I'm thinking of this stuff again.


 

Comments


Thursday, 09 September 2010, 09:07
Jayenkai
Seems like a plan, but I'd be sure you can easily switch it off. Nothing worse than driving along, getting a bunch of text messages, and wondering what's going on

But, yeah, sounds great!
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 09:13
Mog
Yeah i thought about that.. though minor annoyance vs. the much bigger one of your car getting jacked.

Perhaps just a quick 'sleep' button that breaks a relay to the board that you put on your dash or something. My roommates car has 2 or 3 buttons on the console that do absolutely nothing - those could work!

(PS: You can tell what sorta area i live in when i'm constantly thinking about this sorta stuff!)
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 09:41
JL235
This already exists in high end cars like the Ford GT. I would suspect Mercedes vehicles would also include it as they typically have the latest gadgets. Although they usually signal to the car firm (or a security company on their behalf) who then phone you to say your vehicle is stolen and where it is.

But it's a really nice idea. So I would recommend researching if you can already buy this as an attachment for an existing vehicle (or something similar). If not, then I'd go ahead with it.

A better idea is if the logging is silently stored somewhere, like on a server. Then I don't care if it's logging all the time as I'll just check when my car is missing. It would be very call if I could display all that on Google Maps.

You could also have a bluetooth dongle which syncs to the device. If the engine is started without the presence of the dongle then you get a text. But most people would keep the dongle on their keys, and most car thefts these days are down to people stealing your keys and simply driving off with your car!

Another alternative would be to include a biometric scanner for your thumb. You'd have to scan your thumb to turn on the engine. You could have it for disabling the alarm, but it would probably get annoying to have to both disable the alarm and then turn on your car.
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 10:35
CodersRule
Can GSM modules receive texts rather than send them? I would assume not... But if they can, I was thinking you would have two of them; one in your car, and one you carry around everywhere. (Preferably not in your hand bag, otherwise if that gets stolen along with your keys, it won't matter) The GSM module in the car would periodically send messages to the one you're carrying saying its GPS location. If the car starts moving and the owner is away from the car, the owner will be alerted by the module they're carrying, and will somehow be able to get GPS coords from the messages sent from the car.

I just looked, and the GSM module is more than just SMS-ing, which I didn't know. That would expand the possibilities of the device, and using SMS back and forth would be sort of pointless; there would never be a cell phone involved.

But if you still want to use SMS and you CAN'T receive messages on the module, (I'm really not sure) you could instead have them both text a specific phone number that goes into a server and interprets the data. Then the server could text the user's phone if something is up.

These are just my ideas, and my main trail of thought is that the module should never directly connect to a phone, but rather to another one to check locations.

Keep in mind though, if multiple people will be using the car, the module will have to be transported to the next person using the car, or it will get an emergency message. But each person using the car would need to keep it in a safe location, because otherwise anyone could have it stolen from them.

Those are my thoughts.
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 12:22
Mog
@Joe: this isn't about if i can buy it- i know it already exists, but most services are based on subscription and i want to see if i can solve it for cheaper (and as a learning exercise!). I do like the idea of a dongle-thing though... I'll look for a scanner or dongle sensor for the Arduino and see if i can't make that work.. Thanks for your input! Maybe instead of Bluetooth, just a simple RF module you have on you.

@CodersRule: From the specs, it can receive as well as initiallize a GPRS connection. I'm planning on using just normal mobiles as the receiver for this- although, i wonder if there's some sort of service out there that can possibly do this (Twitter, anyone..? You can always set your stuff to private and access it through API-- although i prefer just a basic SMS parser)

Thanks for the ideas, guys! it's much appreciated. I'll continue to bat this around and update you if i ever get it off the ground. I already have an arduino and GPS module, just need to research some more stuff.
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 13:14
Afr0
This isn't an anti-theft idea though, so much as a 'vehicle retrieval system'.
I actually started making an anti-theft system in our car once. It worked a little too well. I ended up shooting myself in the foot, quite literally.
After that, my dad swore he'd never let me do any more improvements to our car...
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 15:52
Stealth
Cars in the United States equipped with OnStar have this feature. In fact, OnStar can alert the police of the location and then shut the car down remotely rendering it inoperable.


Afr0 I actually started making an anti-theft system in our car once. It worked a little too well. I ended up shooting myself in the foot, quite literally.


What the fuck?
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 16:13
Jayenkai
I know that, as a coder, I should really trust things like that...
But, as a coder, I also know that unseen sideeffects can occur all over the place.
I'd never trust a "This device will render your car completely worthless" bit of tech in my car.
I'm not really the type of person who wants to phone up the police every time I fancy a drive!
...

Although it's a moot point, since I can't drive anyway.
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 16:36
CodersRule
OnStar can also unlock all car doors remotely, so signals are bound to be hacked.
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 17:12
Mog
One point my roommate made is- If the device messes with the car, the said thief will probably be like 'Oh? fuck with me, will you?' and proceed to trash your vehicle....

...So! May just keep it as simply a logger. Also- mind you that i already know these systems exist- what i'm trying to do is make one myself for cheaper, and eliminate the need for some stupid third party to monitor your stuff.

Jay, you made an excellent point with tech and rendering stuff worthless- what if it goes haywire and whilst you're going full tilt, it's like LOL I HATE YOU, PEWWWWW and then your vehicle shuts off- may be dangerous.

Afr0 is right- it's not really anti-theft, rather a 'If stolen, it'll whine until it's found, or the system is destroyed' system - I guess you could be a complete ass and rig it to explosives in the gas tank, killing the said carjacker, but then we wheel around back to J's point of unknown failure, and i think that would be detrimental to the point of making it in the first place.

(You know, dying in a horrible fireball of your own doing)
Thursday, 09 September 2010, 18:54
JL235
If you can do it for less, then it's a good idea.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 08:05
Afr0
Stealth What the fuck?


While testing, I forgot to turn off the alarm, so the gun I had mounted shot me in the leg/foot.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 08:24
Jayenkai
I think we all got that part of it.. It was the "I'll strap a gun into my car" part that made him "What the fuck?"
Friday, 10 September 2010, 08:54
Afr0
Well, the idea was to shoot the car-thief in the foot, thus disabling him or her from driving and/or wrecking the car. The problem was that it worked too well...
Friday, 10 September 2010, 11:08
steve_ancell
Why not just invent a system that sprays the thief with Liquefied Sulfur-Dioxide AKA "Stink-Bomb Juice", he won't be going near that car again in a hurry
Friday, 10 September 2010, 11:30
Stealth
Let me defend OnStar a bit. First of all, your car is only rendered useless because OnStar is transmitting a "do not turn on" signal. As soon as they disable it, the car is fine. Secondly, OnStar wont disable the car until the cops are right on the thief's ass (they want to catch him). Third, people worried about this chip malfunctioning should realize how many other components in a car could fail and render the car useless. It's far more likely that your engine will have a component failure first considering the heat and pressure it's under. Lastly, the people who build these systems aren't stupid. They are extremely secure and I've never heard of a case where they have gotten hacked. It's quite a bit easier to hack the little keychain door unlocks anyways (or even easier, disable the OnStar system and break-in/hotwire the car).

Afr0 Well, the idea was to shoot the car-thief in the foot, thus disabling him or her from driving and/or wrecking the car. The problem was that it worked too well...


Nice. Now you have a hole in your car and a lawsuit from the thief (should it work properly). People often forget that they can't break the law just like the thieves can't. Shooting someone in the foot is extremely illegal. The fact that you even did this is scary.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 12:58
Afr0
Nice. Now you have a hole in your car and a lawsuit from the thief (should it work properly). People often forget that they can't break the law just like the thieves can't.


No offense, but this just goes to show that you're American. North America is the only country in the western (?) world where such a lawsuit would even have a remote chance of succeeding.
In fact, if the car was parked inside the boundaries of private property, I'd wager it wouldn't even succeed in the US. If it was parked in a public space.... maybe.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 13:01
JL235
Stealth is entirely right, and that would hold up in most EU countries too.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 13:03
Afr0
I severely doubt that.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 13:21
Stealth
The law doesn't state that just because someone is stealing your property that the laws no longer apply to you.

In obvious cases, the judge will throw it out. Like if the robber breaks in to someones home and breaks their leg and then tries to sue. If you intentionally harm the burglar by building a device that shoots them--you're going to lose.

(quote) No offense, but this just goes to show that you're American.

No offense, but you don't know shit about America. You just stereotypically hate us because we are America, but it's completely based off of your opinions and not any serious facts. It's unfortunate that hating America has become popular but we're an extremely smart country with extremely smart people. Microsoft is an American company. Apple is American. Linux was founded by Americans. The PC was developed in America. We developed the Internet. We made electricity useful. If it wasn't for us "dumb" Americans, there wouldn't be a lot of things.

Clearly we have idiots in our country--there are idiots in places with huge populations. Don't act like that represents us all though. It represents very few of us.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 13:52
Afr0
I know enough about America to know what I like and hate about it. To summarize:

I like Americans in general. I really do. Even though you might not like to believe it, I've met a few. Americans as a people are open, sociable and generally very likeable people.

I hate (or don't much care for) the liberal conservatism that alot of Americans seem to be very fond of, politically speaking. Therefore I've generally come to acknowledge that I don't like discussing politics with Americans.

I also do not like the American justice system. At least not based on the impression I've gotten when I've seen it in action.

Example Nr. 1
American companies used their lawyers to threaten the Swedish government into bringing The Pirate Bay to justice, even though nothing wrong had happened as per defined in Swedish law.

Example Nr. 2
The bnetd case - it proved that in the US, it is possible to copyright a protocol. This, to me, ... I do not like that you can sue someone on the grounds on infringing upon a means of communication. That's like suing someone for speaking a language that you invented.

Example Nr. 3
I do not like that some states are still pro death penalties. Period.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 14:03
Stealth
Example Nr. 1
American companies used their lawyers to threaten the Swedish government into bringing The Pirate Bay to justice, even though nothing wrong had happened as per defined in Swedish law.


This has nothing to do with our government. I don't approve of the RIAA and MPAA either. They are assholes.

Example Nr. 2
The bnetd case - it proved that in the US, it is possible to copyright a protocol. This, to me, ... I do not like that you can sue someone on the grounds on infringing upon a means of communication. That's like suing someone for speaking a language that you invented.


Our copyright laws defend innovation. If you invent a super fast protocol that your company invested millions in, you want to be able to keep it. This makes sense.

Example Nr. 3
I do not like that some states are still pro death penalties. Period.


This is a choice of society in that particular state. I'm torn on this subject personally, but I can see arguments for it. Some crimes are completely inexcusable. There was a serial killer in my city who called himself BTK. This stands for bind-torture-kill. He killed 10 people for his own satisfaction. He also admitted to doing it. Do I think he deserves the death penalty? Yes. However, Kansas gave him life in prison. I do think the death penalty needs to be used with desecration, but in this case, he is clearly guilty and his crimes are clearly inexcusable.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 14:12
Afr0
This has nothing to do with our government. I don't approve of the RIAA and MPAA either. They are assholes.


I didn't say it had anything to do with your government. The examples I gave were examples of why I do not like the American justice system. I could give more examples, I could even argue with the points you've made.
But I won't. I'm afraid it will turn into a political, or even worse - an ideological debate. I'd rather not go there.
Friday, 10 September 2010, 20:03
Mog



This is what this thread did- Thanks guys :/
Friday, 10 September 2010, 21:24
Stealth
Me and Afr0 took this conversation private and stopped talking about it here (we had a more constructive talk as well).

The comments were finished with anyways. We didn't highjack it too much.

It would be nice to be able to "split" a topic into multiple conversations. Feature idea anyone?
Monday, 13 September 2010, 04:41
waroffice
didnt actually read all the details but this product already exists, i used to work for a civil engineer company that has lots of vans/trucks/company cars. They are fitted with tracking devices that record all sort of details and also if they are speeding or not in the correct place overnight.

Quite clever really. But i suppose if you just want it for your own piece of mind its not a bad way of doing it. Only thing is your car etc has still been stolen only thing you know is its moved and where to. Getting it to disable the engine maybe a good option.
Monday, 13 September 2010, 12:21
Mog
i know it already exists


...and disabling the engine, perhaps put a relay between the battery and the main power. But, it would require finesse since in an application of say, On a motorcycle, cutting the power could cause your transmission to suddenly lock, and that would be bad. I'll look more into the whole logistics of this project.
Monday, 13 September 2010, 12:39
Stealth
Mog perhaps put a relay between the battery and the main power


The car typically runs off of the alternator. But cutting power to the car would be very dangerous. If it was cruising on the highway and you terminated the power, goodbye power steering and power breaking. Your car is going to end up crashed because the driver lost control. Then we have to go back to that liability thing. If you hurt the thief, you can get sued.
Monday, 13 September 2010, 12:53
steve_ancell
When the engine cuts, you still have some control of the car, the power only assists the steering and brakes, I know this from 19 years of driving experience and knowing a bit of stuff about cars and their systems.

You are right about the possibility of losing control though, especially when taking a corner or sharp bend and mixing that with inexperience. When that power shuts off, the steering becomes so heavy, you begin to realize what a weight lifter has to endure and the brakes become less effective after the first 3-5 presses after the power is lost.

|edit| The problem with ATDs if the thief really wanted that car, they will have it no matter what you have fitted. The best way to "help prevent" somebody taking your car is to take the wheels off every night ! |edit|
Monday, 13 September 2010, 14:02
Stealth
Or just insure your car from theft.
Monday, 13 September 2010, 16:10
Mog
So then i wheel back to the device simply being non-intrusive and silently giving away their position. It's a fair point that if they want it, they'll get it- but doing something is better than doing nothing.
Monday, 13 September 2010, 16:59
steve_ancell
Stealth Or just insure your car from theft.

In the UK, you cannot drive without it. Then after the claim they deduct an excess from the payout, is that rubbing salt in the wound or what ! LOL

Mog but doing something is better than doing nothing

Erm... Give them a good kicking to deter them from doing it again and possibly as a message to tell the rest of the chavs to stay away from your car !
Monday, 13 September 2010, 19:40
JL235
I agree that silently giving away their position is better then randomly cutting the engine. In practice you'd only want to cut the engine if you know where they are because as soon as it's cut the thief will get out of the car and run off.
Monday, 13 September 2010, 21:56
Stealth
Just put a note on the window that says the car is under 24 hour surveillance ;]
Monday, 13 September 2010, 22:40
JL235
Smear your gear stick and steering wheel with dog poo (or your own if you cannot find a dog), and cover the door handles too!
Monday, 13 September 2010, 23:02
Stealth
Genius. We* have devised a full proof system.

* By we, I mean DD ;]
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 04:47
waroffice
Could you engaged the imobiliser or something to stop the car being started in the first place, not so much turning it off when they are in it, preventing it from being started.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 05:13
steve_ancell
My car key has a proximity chip inside it, a chav simply cannot start the car without it. That does not stop organized pro car thieves though. If a pro-thief was after a car for the parts, they would simply hook it up to a tow truck and then cut the handbrake cable from underneath, then just drag it to wherever they are going to strip it.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 06:30
JL235
A large percentage of cars are now stolen using the owners keys. Many after burgleries and even via techniques such as sticking a stick through the owners letter box to pick them up (lots of people foolishly leave their keys by their front doors).
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 07:42
waroffice
my 12 year old pug 306 has an imobiliser in the key too, i doubt a pro would want to pinch it for parts tho
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 08:30
steve_ancell
I've got a 2001 (51 plate) Vauxhall Astra Diesel Estate. I think the only parts that would be a target would be the engine and alloy wheels. The fact that it's an estate, it can be used as a van, so it could be targeted for use in ram-raiding.

JL235 A large percentage of cars are now stolen using the owners keys

Yes, unfortunately a lot of that goes on nowadays, which is why I never leave my keys laying about, they are always either in my pocket, under my mattress while I sleep, or of course in the ignition while I'm driving. I also wind-up my window while I'm in traffic of at traffic lights for long periods, just in case somebody tries to car-jack me, or some tree-hugging crusty tries to grab my keys from the ignition.

And yes, the above has been attempted towards me on a few occasions, one time some Pikeys tried to car-jack me, it was funny when we pulled one of them through the window and drove off with bastard hanging out of the window.

The two accounts when crusties tried to take my keys was during anti-war protests in Brighton.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 08:43
mole
Haha! I'm loving the imagery of Steve driving off with a chav hanging out the window.. XD
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 09:58
Mog
I'm liking all of the discussion - It's a good point that there's prox devices now on the keys. I plan to leave this device independent of the vehicle itself, maybe using epoxy / glue to weld a small lock box into place where it's hard to say 'Oh wait, this little thing shouldn't be here'

On the note of an immobiliser system, i wonder if you can still hotwire a car like old ones by simply bypassing the starter? Like steve said- the pro thieves already know how to get around these systems, either technically or through brute force
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 13:51
Stealth
I have an idea.

Remove an essential fuse to the cars engine. It'll drive the thief insane trying to figure out why the car wont start. It's not like he's gonna try to fix it either. He'll just steal someone else's car.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 17:42
steve_ancell
Some Renault cars have a good perk to them. In addition to all the other fuses, there's one with a Renault logo on it. If you remove that fuse, the whole car goes dead, including the starter motor.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 17:47
steve_ancell
Mog i wonder if you can still hotwire a car like old ones by simply bypassing the starter?

It's apparently possible, if you know how to get power to the ECU. Many post late 1980's vehicles rely on instructions from the ECU for controlling the spark timing, or fuel pump if it's a Diesel.