Commentary

BMW Remotely Locks Thief Inside Car

One of the promises of connected or smart cars is that driving can be made safer.

In the short term, auto manufacturers are adding various components of connectivity to new models.

For example, Audi is adding a feature that allows the car to tap into traffic light information so the driver will know precisely when a red light is about to turn green.

And a Samsung company has come up with a device that can project messages to a driver’s windshield.

However, there can be a downside to connected cars, at least if a person is a car thief.

A car thief found himself locked inside the car he had taken, according to the Seattle police department.

The thief had been prowling cars when came he upon an unlocked BMW 550i in a parking garage.

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Likely to his surprise, the thief found a key in the car, left by a friend of the owner. The owner had gotten married a day earlier and loaned the car to a friend, who mistakenly left the key fob.

As soon as the owner discovered her car to be missing, she called police.

Officers then contacted BMW corporate, who tracked the car to a block where it was parked.

"BMW employees were able to remotely lock the car's doors, trapping the suspect inside, presumably while hissing something terrifying like ‘I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me' into the car's sound system,’ police said.

Police said they found the man sleeping in the car, parked in an alley and still running.

The car thief unsuccessfully tried to drive away.

The 38-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with auto theft and drug possession.

Connected car 1, thief 0.

 

 

 

 

 

12 comments about "BMW Remotely Locks Thief Inside Car".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit, December 12, 2016 at 9:48 a.m.

    Hmm, thief locked in my BMW.  I'd expect to get it back with a smashed side window and:
    a) seats slashed
    b) on fire
    c) keyed and dented all around the car
    Most of remote thief lock-ins I expect to end badly.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 12, 2016 at 3:04 p.m.

    In this case, Kevin, police were on the scene where the car was located.

  3. Len Stein from Visibility Public Relations, December 12, 2016 at 10:05 a.m.

    that's all well and good- but what happens when hackers lock car owners in their cars...or worse, as in last year's Jeep hack example

  4. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US replied, December 12, 2016 at 10:16 a.m.

    YESSIR Len, my point for everything. This will be a hacker's Disneyland.

  5. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 12, 2016 at 3:05 p.m.

    Thanks Len, that's just one of multiple issues related to connected cars.

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 12, 2016 at 10:13 a.m.

    One good time story does not make a good idea. Someone is an accident and can't get out. Is is guaranteed unhackable ? Yeah, thought so. 

  7. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , December 12, 2016 at 10:15 a.m.

    .............additionally:
    a)    car unlocked
    b)    key in car
    c)   loaned the car?
    d    air-head friend

    Where is sign on the car that says "key in Car"

    Please, we're giving creidt  to "high tech" for retrieving this car?
    One air-head friend + Drugged out thief  =  Success?
    Columbo's 59 Peugeot would be harder to steal.

  8. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 12, 2016 at 3:06 p.m.

    Right, Mark, those factors did make it more logical as the car to take, if car theft shopping.

  9. Jonathan Hutter from EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems), December 12, 2016 at 11:57 a.m.

    BWM owner locks thief in car while car is running. Thief dies of CO poisoning. Owner is sued and loses a lot more than his BMW. Good idea? Seriously though, if someone stole your car, would you really want them to die for that crime?

    Separately on the Audi thing, sending a signal so a driver knows precisely when a light turns green is an astoundingly bad idea. You know people will try to jump off the line, and everyone I know thinks a yellow light means speed up. 

    So far, all of this smart car technology has not been at all thought through. Slow down, think and observe before all of these useless gadgets put more people in harm's way (historically, the auto industry cares little about that). 

  10. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 12, 2016 at 3:08 p.m.

    Good point on the Audi feature Jonathan. That is just the first of the capabilities being introduced, with the idea of pacing a car as it approaches a light.

  11. Florian Kahlert from Yayo Media LLC, December 14, 2016 at 11:46 a.m.

    What is largely ignored here are the privacy issues connected with modern cars. Not only can BMW (and not just BMW) collect location info on where any of the cars are at any point, they also can (and may routinely do so) download massive data info from the ECU which includes data on time/day/location/speed/what station you were tuned to/if the window was open/if you pressed the brake pedal/ you name it.
    I am not aware of any guidelines how that data is protected/stored/shared/used/etc.. . Does the police need a search warrant to get to it?  Can the car maker sell this? What uses are permitted? They obviously already use it to deny warranty/damage claims if they see that your car was used in non street activity (=track). You don't even sign a 4pt font privacy agreement that gives them authority to do so when you buy your car. 

  12. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 14, 2016 at 2 p.m.

    Those are some of the many, many issues surrounding much IoT connectivity, Florian. Well articulated.

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