A blog I posted back in March of last year highlighted how difficult it was to insure, own and keep a Range Rover in London - they just got stolen far too easily and far too often. And if anything, this issue seems to be worsening, and there does not seem to be a single car brand now that is not impacted by this sort of activity.
The crux of the matter is really that it is too easy to steal cars, too easy to break into vans and help yourselves to valuable tools and property stored inside, and if anything - it seems to be getting easier and easier for crooks to access and get away with your vehicles. To such an extend that some owners are increasingly resorting to security tools of old - the yellow bar steering wheel lock, and even chaining the steering wheel to the base of the driver seat - as in the picture above - where the owner was compelled to take drastic measures following the double-theft of that same vehicle.
All these issues have been known for a number of years now - the remote / keyless entry fobs are just too easy to intercept, block, spoof or clone. To such an extent that with the right tools - available on the Internet, you can be in someone’s vehicle and driving away in under one minute. Also industrial vans and vehicles seem to have wholly unsuitable and inadequate locking mechanisms which can be gotten around by anyone and everyone seemingly these days.
I have long advocated that all cars should have the same ’Find My Phone’ technology that is now baked into near enough every mobile phone. But even that would not necessarily deter the thieves, it is the locking technology that needs to change. The keyless entry fobs are just no longer secure enough - I am not convinced they ever were - there are just too many core weaknesses with that method, I fear the days of those devices are numbered. Yes - they brought a new level of convenience, but they also brought about a field day for crooks and robbers. We need to return to some more localized, manual device - possibly with some additional layer of biometrics - which fully and properly secures the vehicle and ensures that only the owner/s and authorised personnel - e.g. car mechanic can use the vehicle.
There would need to be logging per authorised driver, where you could see stats of what said driver had done with the vehicle. The major problem here is that Car Manufacturers don’t feel incentivised to do anything about this at the moment - it’s no major issue for them if a car is stolen, you might in fact be compelled to buy a new one - which is to their benefit.
The insurance industry should really ally itself to consumer rights groups to compel car manufacturers to take action to curb these ongoing criminal excesses. It is quite evident that in its current form that keyless entry is a flawed and hugely exposed technology - so are car keys of old. But there are all manner of new physical key technologies which make keys nigh on impossible to counterfeit and duplicate. I feel that in the absence of easy and secure biometrics - I understand that the only current foolproof biometric methodology is palm vein scanning, but that this is not particularly practical for integrating into vehicles.
The next era of car ownership will be much more about security than convenience and modern comforts. I see the introduction of driver logging, integrated vehicle tracking, and a return to yet also a significant update to the physical key technologies of old. For what point is having and owning a vehicle when it’s no longer there when you need to use it...