BT is launching a new scheme today that, if a car gets stolen, will monitor its location via satellite.
Called BT Trackit, the service uses a smartcard that the user keeps separately from the car keys and is read by a reader in the car when the ignition is started. If someone who does not have the smartcard drives the car, the card reader turns on a GPS transponder hidden in the car and a BT call centre alerts the driver and police and can shut down the car's ignition remotely.
The BT product manager for the system, David Thomas, had an unauthorised field test of the system when his car was stolen earlier this month. He found his Audi abandoned six miles from his home in Kings Heath, Birmingham, 50 minutes after he discovered it had been taken.
"I couldn’t believe it when I discovered my car had been stolen," said Thomas.
"I suppose it was an opportunity to put BT Trackit to the test for real. I was very relieved to get it back safely.”
Using the system qualifies drivers for a Level 1 police response, which means they dispatch a unit as fast as they can. Insurance companies are also offering premium reductions for cars with the system.
All this comes at a price however, with installation costing as much as £350 and annual subscription costs ranging from £600 to over a thousand. The service can work in 27 European countries.
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