Voyomotive moves to combat keyless car theft with new 'Lockdown' system

Published: 11 July 2016

► Tech company launches new security system
► Designed to protect against keyless car theft
► Offered in the US initially, other markets later

Voyomotive, a US-based tech company, has launched a new system that's designed to protect cars with keyless entry and ignition from theft. 

The company's system, dubbed 'Lockdown', uses a blend of software and hardware to provide additional security alongside the car's original equipment.

It requires the fitment of a 'Voyo' module, which connects to your car's on-board diagnostics port, and a plug-in relay in the car's fuse box. With the system installed, drivers will only be able to access and start the car by connecting an authorised phone to the module, via Bluetooth – which will disarm the 'lockdown'.

The new security system is designed to protect modern cars with keyless entry and ignition systems. Key fob signals can be intercepted and reproduced, granting access to cars without any real effort – and ignition systems can be duped in a similar fashion, or reprogrammed from inside the car to accept new keys.

Lockdown also provides several other security features. 'If a thief attempts to enter a car, Lockdown will blare the car horn and flash the lights,' says Voyomotive CEO Peter Yorke.  

'Once the hacker unlocks the doors, the app repeatedly relocks the doors. If the thief does gain entry into the vehicle, Lockdown prevents an engine start – even if a blank key has been reprogrammed or by attempting to use a keyless ignition.'

Even if someone has the correct keys for the car, the system will prevent them from starting it – stopping any unauthorised use. Whether the system immobilises the car if the Voyo module is removed – if, for example, a thief breaks a window and accesses the car that way – isn't clear, though. Anything that complicates proceedings for the thief, however, is no bad thing.

If you're in the US, you can place an order for the required hardware now – but the functionality offered will depend on the year, make and model of your vehicle. The company's 'Voyo' module also delivers a range of other features, including GPS tracking, remote locking, driving reports and vehicle immobilisation.

Jim Schweitzer, the chief operating officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, said: 'The NICB was the first to alert the public to the potential danger posed by new technology allowing thieves to unlock vehicles with what have come to be known as mystery devices. 

'Despite significant progress by manufacturers over the past two decades in anti-theft technology, we know that thieves are always busy trying to develop new ways to thwart those systems.  It is important that owners have options available to protect their vehicles and we encourage efforts to provide reasonable and reliable alternatives for the consumer.'

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By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car