and U.S. auto thefts up 25.1% since 2019Apparently, a high-tech key fob immobilizer isn’t up to the task. But it’s possible: Researchers at the University of Michigan have created a fascinating low-tech anti-theft device that can turn an entire car into a security keypad.
Keyless entry and ignition are a brilliant step forward in convenience over the old “put the key in the hole and turn” method of starting a car, but thieves and hackers with a little know-how and some professional gear are on the lookout for new keyless cars Break in and steal quickly and easily.in this kind of thing and Tik Tok Car Stealing Challengecriminals are rampant in the post-coronavirus world.
A team at the University of Michigan has come up with an interesting solution that doesn’t use wireless signals at all. They call them “battery detectives,” which sit between the car’s battery and the electrical system, measuring voltage fluctuations, looking for a specific set of voltage changes that act as a sort of secret handshake between the driver and the car. Only when the handshake is complete does the device discharge the full charge of the battery to start the starter motor.
You could use a keypad or fingerprint reader plugged into a cigarette lighter socket to create these voltage handshakes – but frankly, that looks awful, so why would you want to do it?
Even more interesting, when you press every button and switch in your car, it creates its own specific voltage fluctuation, which means your car’s entire electrical system can be used as a keypad to unlock the ignition. Double-tap the brake pedal, press the left rear window-up button, flick the wiper stalk, poke the defogger button, and away you go.
The only way to break into such a system is to plug the device into the car’s electrical system, read the voltage signature and replicate it. It’s not impossible, but it does take some work and patience. Hey, if car thieves are good at working patiently, well, maybe they can afford their own car.
The team’s prototype was tested on eight vehicles in a 2022 field study and found to be “more than 99.9 percent effective at detecting and preventing illegal activity without interfering with normal vehicle operation.”
“The idea of measuring fluctuations in a car’s electrical system seems simple, but designing a device that can accurately measure fluctuations across thousands of different vehicle models under different environmental conditions is quite complex,” said He Liang, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at CU Denver and a researcher on the project. “We’re trying to design a system that is smart enough to measure the parameters of the vehicle it’s installed in and then customize itself to work effectively on that vehicle.”
The system’s design includes the ability to activate an alarm if the Battery Detective itself has been tampered with, as well as the ability to completely shut down the car if it detects unauthorized power, which could indicate a thief is trying to connect another battery.
The research team has raised enough money to develop a “commercially viable prototype” that could serve as a retrofit to an existing car, or as something an OEM could install at the factory. Currently, it works as an anti-theft device, but the team is working on how to expand it to include vehicle entry.
The question remains: for example, if you blow out an indicator light bulb, and that indicator light is part of the handshake signal, will it work? But it’s an interesting idea anyway.
Watch the video below.
Keyless Car Anti-Theft Solution: Unhackable Vehicle Devices
source: University of Michigan