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Continental Has it in for Car Thieves

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AUTO CENTRAL – July 22, 2010: In launching the Novanto telematics box, Continental is declaring war on vehicle thieves and high insurance rates. About the size of a pocketbook and concealed in an inconspicuous plastic housing, the electronic unit can be used to track down a vehicle so equipped worldwide. If required and if permitted under data protection law, a central office can monitor a vehicle’s movements and even remotely disable it. Possibilities like this can be put to use everywhere, giving police the wherewithal to put a stop to a carnapper’s game and recover stolen vehicles. Fleet managers can keep tabs on their vehicle pools on the computer screen and insurance companies can individualize rates based on log profiles, known as “pay as you drive” insurance models. The therefore needed electronic module can be integrated into the vehicle architecture by the vehicle manufacturer. It is also possible to retrofit the module into already existing vehicles.

The Novanto telematics box has a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver that permanently tracks a vehicle’s exact position on the basis of the worldwide satellite tracking system and is hooked up to a GSM module. Via a coded cellular radio connection this sender can transmit the location of the vehicle to the control center. The radio message may be triggered by an alarm system, by pressing an emergency button in the vehicle or by a motion transmitter activated as soon as the vehicle starts moving. Novanto can, for example, also be programmed to allow a fleet's central office to request the vehicle’s current position, whenever required.

If the vehicle is stolen, the police or authorised service providers can monitor the vehicle on the screen and, if necessary, initiate a pursuit. Continental also offers the option of remote vehicle disabling. As soon as the vehicle is stopped for more than thirty seconds, Novanto acts to prevent the engine from being started again, putting an end to the thief’s getaway.

Novanto is available both for retrofitting and as original equipment. Automakers can thus offer their customers more value in their vehicles. Service providers can use the technology as the basis for development of software platforms that provide insurance companies, managers of vehicle pools, or fleet operators attractive benefits.

The percentage of vehicles equipped with such systems is still quite low in many markets. Nevertheless, there are a number of countries worldwide in which systems of this kind are a prerequisite for registering vehicles of a certain value. What’s more, most insurers will refuse to cover exclusive luxury vehicles, powerful sports cars and valuable vintage cars not outfitted with a tracking system.

The idea of individualized auto insurance premiums opens up a further market that can be tapped for tracking solutions of this type. Motorists who do not exceed a certain driving performance, avoid high-risk areas or stick to given routes stand to qualify for rebates. In Italy, in particular, young motorists take advantage of more favorable insurance rates with the help of telematics systems. Thanks to Novanto, providing proof of compliance becomes child‘s play. What’s more, the tracking solution can also be put to good use by fleet managers to record actual operating expenses, for example, or to bill travel costs and delivery fees. Even private customers can make use of Novanto-based services in the future: If a vehicle’s route is electronically documented, the motorist can dispense with the log normally required by the tax office.