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back to article Auto thief foiled by guardian satellite

A 21-year-old man was arrested Sunday after the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe he is accused of carjacking was electronically disabled as he sped away from two police cruisers. The SUV was stopped by OnStar, the satellite-enabled system that allows drivers to receive remote assistance during accidents and other emergencies. Police were …

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Fun coincidences

Amusingly, this exact scenario, including the Tahoe model, was the subject of an On Star advertisement on US cable TV channel The History Channel as early as October 15th, at least three days before the event described in the article. Apparently, crooks don't watch edu-tainment television.

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Coat

HALoo

Was the perp called Dave?

Did the car have a synthesised voice in the on board computer?

Did the car say "Im sorry, I cant do that" when asked to keep the throttle open?

I'll get my coat.

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Next...

The car dead-locks the doors and drives itself at 20mph to the nearest Police station.

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Coat

@Next - Later

The car dead-locks the doors [on the legitimate driver, who failed voice authentication because of a sore throat] and drives itself at 20mph [along footpaths, killing several pedestrians] to the nearest Police station [closed down several years ago in budget cuts, now inhabited by a criminal gang [of vampires - it's nearly Halloween, right?]].

Only question - does the driver get jailed for murdering the pedestrians, or sucked dry?

Mine's the one with the throat pastilles in the pocket.

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Big Brother

It seems good, but..

Although this is a prime example of technology foiling the lowdown scum who make our lives a misery, I can't help but think that there's someone in a control office who knows exactly where I'm driving......

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Anonymous Coward

This is all well and good

but has anyone considered the negative impact on police chase TV shows?

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Great addition in real life, but...

Imagine this turning up in GTA5!

Also, does anyone proof read these articles?

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Terminator

Reminds me of an old episode of Knight Rider.

Where someone tried to steal the car and KITT took him for a 150 MPH turbo charged ride; reducing him to a gibbering wreck.

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@AC 04:33 GMT

Not the worst thing in the world tbh

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SWAG

I liked the setup on the hidden camera TV show "SWAG" where the would-be thieves were locked into the car they attempted to steal. The "car alarm" then talks to them, demanding that they apologise and admit they have been very very naughty boys before letting them out.

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Anonymous Coward

Onstar

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-132934.html?tag=content;col1

Onstar's unwanted feature is the remote controlled microphone. Look around you, how many asshole chavs are in your office? That same percentage of asshole chavs are in the police, your banks bank office, an OnStars controls room, at your ISP, your mobile phone company. So it's better to remember the chav factor when buying technology that can be abused against you.

Really, can it work any better than an immobiliser? If I added an immobiliser that turned off the power after a while if the key wasn't present, wouldn't that be the same? Officer chases car, but not so hard, at some point the stolen car turns off, officer arrests perp without need for kill switch.

Also suppose you're speeding, a little over the limit, but not worth chasing you and issuing a ticket.... no need, just turn off the car, turn on the microphone and speaker and officer issues a verbal rebuke, or a little 10 minute timeout. Taser for your Transam!

That would be great, cark park companies could add terms to their car parks. Instead of clamping cars, "badly parked cars will be immobilised by OnStar". Pay a little fee, OnStar will turn off your car saving the car park from clamping!

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I still say

Put a spike in the steering wheel then when they crash they remove themselves from the gene pool. If they are stupid enough to nick the car, they won't be wearing a seatbelt.

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Yawn

The only news here is that they used something OEM to do this. Such security services have been available as add ons for some time.

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remote assistance during accidents

Now that sounds useful. But are the operators able to intervene quickly enough?

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Why is this news?

The company I work for has been doing this sort of thing for close to 10 years now.

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Pirate

I bet there are hordes of people...

Just waiting till this is cracked so they can start messing with peoples cars by remote.

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finally...

they finally added this functionality to consumer equipment?

a few years ago when i was working for a security company one of our contracts was for monitoring of lorries carrying high value loads, as well as the basic door alarms and tracking functions, during an incident we also had the ability to disable the starter motor and/or disable the engine (as well as activate the horn/lights and slam on the handbrake - less useful features)

although i expect the situations where this would actually be used aren't as high as one would expect - most vehicles it takes a while to get the owner to confirm it has been stolen, then call the police and report it, then give the operator the reference number so they can contact the police to report its location - by which time most stolen vehicles have been parked up somewhere around the corner (apparently they like to steal them from near to where they operate from, so after 5 minutes it's parked up for a couple of days before they take it off to whatever its destination is)

and if any of you have a tracking system on your car that has been there for more than a year or so, phone the tracking company and ask them if they can check it's still working and tell you where it is to confirm (do this every 6 months or so), you'd be surprised how many tracking systems fail ... they have terrible recovery rates!

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Anonymous Coward

Magnavolt

I much prefer the idea of magnavolt lethal response from Robocop......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyuKEK7wmsw

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OnStar is evil

Who in their right mind wants a system in their car which constantly monitors, spies, listens, and apparently can disable you? If I ever bought a car with OnStar I would rip it out immediately.

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Grenade

Go one better

>Put a spike in the steering wheel then when they crash they remove themselves from the gene pool. If they are stupid enough to nick the car, they won't be wearing a seatbelt.

Why not go one better & install a Magnavolt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyuKEK7wmsw (Poss NSFW if your boss doesn't dig Robo).

It doesn't even drain your battery...

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Flame

Soon to be mandatory in the UK

Well, not OnStar, but a similar systems. The plan is to force all vehicles to be fitted with EVSC (now dubbed ISA) so that it is impossible to speed (what do you think Galileo is for). One up-shot will be that the police can disable any vehicle at any time for any reason (and that includes motorcycles).

Oh yeah, don't forget that this will be used for road charging, movement tracking and other forms of privacy invasion. OnStar is just showing Labour what they need to do next.

Remember citizen - you must obey the machine.

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Joke

That doesn't sound very politically correct...

Are you sure you're allowed to call the car 'disabled'?

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OnStar is great

We have a couple minor quibbles with it, mostly being that the builtin hands-free cell phone is tied to one particular carrier. However, the service is great. My dad once locked his keys in his truck while he was hunting about twenty miles from civilization and ten from the nearest Starbucks. He called them, gave the code, and they unlocked it for him. Within five minutes of realizing he was locked out, he was on his way.

My cousin's wife once ran out of gas late at night, with the kids, in the middle of nowhere. AAA said it would be a two hour wait. OnStar had a guy there with five gallons of gas, with no extra delivery charge, in ten minutes.

Add that the accelerometers will trigger an automated signal in an accident and they can get emergency personnel there quickly, and I'm sold.

GM has been doing some darn good things the last few years, and OnStar might be tops.

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EJ
Big Brother

Is that a chase or are you just lapping the track?

A buddy of mine recently took his brand-new Chevy Camaro to Watkins Glen International for a track day. During his laps, a voice came over the OnStar system saying his car was registering g-forces outside normal parameters and asking if he was he alright. He waited until he was off the track to call them back and explain he was in the middle of high speed laps at a track. OnStar suggested that when he next goes to the track to give them a heads up and they'd note it so as not to attempt to contact him in that situation. :)

He said he'd been to Monticello Motor Club (just north of NYC) a week or 2 prior, but they didn't try to contact him during that session.

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Go

Could by useful

A few weeks ago there was a nasty accident in San Diego where four people were killed. It was caused by a jammed gas pedal (accelerator), the pedal being jammed by a misplaced floor mat. This has caused several accidents, this one was particularly bad because the people in the car were on the phone to the emergency services trying to figure out how to stop the car as it slammed into an earth berm and they were killed. One problem is that modern push button cars don't turn of easily -- you have to hold the start button in for more than 3 seconds (PC-style) which isn't easy to remember when you're fighting for your life trying to avoid traffic at 120mph+ on a crowded freeway. An On-star type of setup would be very useful (fixing the floor mats might help -- also maybe an "emergency stop" button?)

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@ Martin Usher

They didn't just take it out of gear and then apply brakes? Even an automatic transmission has a neutral gear where the engine can run as much as it likes but can't apply any torque to the wheels.

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Happy

@ EJ

...a Camaro that generates g-forces in anything other than a crash into a brick wall? Normally caused by the futile attempt to generate g-forces in the first place?

Have merkins started making cars with functional - rather that decorative - steering wheels yet?

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