The government has approved a new technology called Microdots, which promises to make car theft almost impossible. This technology involves spraying thousands of microdots over the surface of a vehicle. The dots are nano-sized, and they house information about the car which enables it to be identified in a flash. Currently, in use in countries like the United States, the technology works even if a stolen car is dismantled. Essentially, because the entire car is covered in these invisible dots, they are virtually impossible to erase. In February this year, the Indian government approved the use of the technology for optional use, with car owners expected to pay in the region of Rs 1,000 to have their vehicle sprayed with Microdots
Why is this Technology Useful in India?
The Times of India notes that some cities in India have significant vehicle theft rates. In 2018, for instance, between 55 and 70 vehicles were illegally taken from their owners while in Mumbai, more than seven a day were stolen during the first five months of the year. In Kolkata, some 120 cars were stolen per month – a number which dropped to 55 in 2018 owing mainly to more efficient work from members of the police force.
Technology Backed by Human Effort
One step police in Kolkata took was to encourage those who had stolen cars (many of whom were abusing substances) to re-enter mainstream society by taking part in rehabilitation programs. Despite the success, police noted more needs to be done to bring down vehicle theft rates, which is difficult to do without the right technology. Vehicle owners wishing to reduce the effects of car theft should also ensure their vehicle is covered. This is the case because thieves often know how to disable popular tech like ‘kill switches’ (which disrupt the flow of electricity when thieves try to steal a car) and GPS trackers. Therefore, even in the case of well-protected cars, no technology can ensure 100% safety. To lower your premium, you will need to take extra precautions. These include keeping your car parked inside a locked garage and installing the best anti-theft technology you can afford.
Microdots vs GPS Tracking Systems
The United States is wrestling with a much higher vehicle theft rate than India, so much can be learned from their experience. FBI: Uniform Crime Reporting notes that during one year alone, almost 708,000 cars were stolen nationwide. These statistics have led to the popularity of electronic tracking systems, which are able to locate cars even if they are taken to forest areas or garages. One system called LoJack, for instance, is able to recover vehicles in 90% of cases, though its price is around Rs 49,016, which is arguably too high for the average driver. Microdots are a considerably cheaper option which, if used by the majority of cars, can serve as a useful deterrent against theft.
What Other Technology can Protect Your Car?
Those with the budget for it may consider adding further safety features to their car. One is the passive immobilizer system, which comprises an ignition key with a special chip. Without this chip, the car will not start at all. Another system involves the use of a pager, which calls vehicle owners if a car alarm has been activated. The system is completely silent (so the thieve cannot hear it while the owner receives the important call).
Because car theft continues to be a big problem in major cities, technology such as Microdots can serve to nip theft in the bud. Microdots are cheap, easy to apply, and very effective. Those who are able to do so should consider adding as many safety features as they can afford. Finally, safe habits such as locking doors and keeping vehicles parked in safe areas that are far from highways and heavily transited areas can help reduce the theft rate.