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Technology That Tracks Your Car

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, February 12, 2004

Technology that tracks your car. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It may raise some privacy concerns, but some car owners and parents of teens may feel the benefits outweigh those questions. Davis Instruments is selling a small device that plugs into just about any car made since 1996. The company's Russ Heilig... says it's called the Car Chip...

"The idea is that it's plugging in and listening to the car's computer, taking information out, whether it's engine speed or RPM or anything that the engine's computer is using to run itself during a regular trip."

The device records how fast the car was going, how far and when trips were taken.

"And then once you're done, all that data's collected in the chip, you bring it into your computer and there's a data cable that plugs in and basically downloads all that information to a computer program."

Heilig says it can also provide useful information about needed repairs and allows owners to clear check engine lights. As for who is buying it, Heilig says...

"Certainly anytime that you're putting this in a car that you're not driving, you're going to get a very good idea of how the vehicle was being driven. So maybe it's your teenage kid, maybe it's an employee. Anytime it's someone that's not you in the vehicle you'll get a very good picture of what's going on."

Which is where some may feel the privacy issues come in. The device sells at some retailers and CarChip.com for about a hundred forty dollars. A model with more memory sells for forty dollars more. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.