An advertisement of GPS-powered car alarms and GPS trackers promises that your car will be absolutely safety from any kind of encroachments if you will buy that device. However, the manufacturers themselves are aware that it is not entirely true.
It is not good being a complete pessimist, but anybody can be a victim of a car theft. There are more than 800.000 cases of vehicle stealing a year in the United States, reports an FBI website. In the United Kingdom this value is about 10 000 of annually thefts and that is also a not encouraging fact.
Loud but useless marketing slogans
As we see in ads a GPS tracker could be a panacea to prevent this type of crime. Actually, it is a much more difficult talk. Immersed in the topic of GPS tracking that is used for safety, we realize that there are a lot of undercurrents.
For example, Teltonika FM1100 GPS tracker has driver ID feature which can be used together with a smart engine block. The driver needs to touch an iButton reader with his own key and relay connected to the one of device’s outputs will unlock the engine starting system.
At the same time, Queclink devices can detect the slightest movement and report about it. The consumer can adjust five parameters related to the sensitivity of the built-in shake sensor.
In fact, the majority of claimed options like blocking an engine of the vehicle can be overcome by rather simple technical hijacking tools. And these questionable features will be absolutely useless when you will face the fact of the absence of your car in a parking place.
The last chance to save your property is, advertisement says, the GPS. Yes, when thieves are dabblers or kids you will be able to track the stolen vehicle and assist the police. But, unfortunately, it won’t be an ordinary case.
Clouds versus jamming
Often hijackers are even more professional than technicians who installed the GNSS tracker into your vehicle. They jam the signal by a special tool and force your location system to go offline. In that mode, your GPS tracker is useless like a TV with a broken antenna.
Fortunately, in a certain sense, this problem can be solved with a cloud service. It maintains the online connection a the GPS terminal in 24x7x365 mode. When the tracker suddenly goes offline and lose the ability to send signals the system detects this fact after a few minutes of device’s silence. Then it switches to alarm mode and immediately notifies the owner by SMS or push notification.
After that, you can’t waste time. In practice, you have only a few minutes to stop the thieves on your own or by calling the police. The criminals aren’t fast as a Formula-1 pit stop team, but they realize the importance to act quickly.
Use a backup GPS tracker
Some vehicle owners or fleet managers use a “double-trouble” system and leave the second small and simple GPS tracker in a car. Unlike a normal GPS tracker, it is programmed to wake up and update its position just one or two times per day and work autonomously within 2-3 years. All you need is to place it in a hard-to-get part of the cabin and “forget” about it.
Since the most of time such a tracker remains in “deep sleeping” mode, hijackers even won’t be able to find out it with radio scanning tools. Sooner or later it will give out their own location. Showing a bit of an inventiveness, you will make the criminal’s life more difficult.
What if GPS signals get jammed?
In this case, the last workable solution can be provided by alternative location methods. The device that able to support Cell ID location can work autonomously from GPS using a previously known scheme of base GSM and UMTS stations. This system can use the Cell ID and other network information to approximate area where your car is even GNSS signals are blocked.
As a conclusion, we should state that the safety of the vehicle can be partially solved by a good GPS tracker connected to a smart cloud system. However, you should be very careful leaving the car in a risky place. Common sense is a main type of protection while cloud services and GPS are just a feature.