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Vehicle Tracking... On the Web

Boot Camp feature for Friday, January 24, 2003

Tracking your car on the Web. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Vehicle tracking and recovery systems have been around for a long time... primarily using devices that send out radio signals. But a new generation uses a combination of cell phone and GPS or satellite navigation technology. GM's OnStar system claims to be recovering about 600 stolen vehicles a month. AudioVox is about launch an add-on system that will allow car owners and police to track their vehicles over the Web. VP Tom Malone...

"It sends a signal that the car is stolen and then notifies the owner and any other contacts they have on their database so that they're aware of it and a third party operator is now going to track the vehicle and locate the local police force and get them involved in recovery of the vehicle."

But the system has other capabilities as well... allowing owners to use the Internet or a cell phone to remotely start or unlock their cars. Or...

""Your 17 year old daughter is out with the car and she's late. Well you can pull that car right up on a computer, see exactly where it is."

Malone says the system will eventually also have the capability to notify parents if a vehicle has been speeding. About privacy concerns... he says...

"It's a feature that the consumer enables on their own vehicle, in their own family. And it's a feature that can be enabled or disabled."

The 800 dollar price of the system includes theft protection services for three years. Remote starting... or other tracking services... will be sold on a per contact basis. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.