NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Sometimes it is easy for a criminal to steal a car. The owner might have left the vehicle unlocked or even better for the crook, it was left running. But technology is now making it easier for law enforcement officers to track stolen cars and arrest the thieves.
In March, Metro police were alerted to a theft by Hyundai. Using its Blue Link technology, Hyundai was able to track the track the SUV and when officers made the call, took over control to slow it down.
“Specifically, stolen vehicle recovery has been one of the top items customers indicate of all of our connected suites that gives a peace of mind which is kind of the backbone for why we made the decision to provide that free for the first 3 years of the vehicle,” said Lawrence Perrault, Senior Manager, Connected Car Product and Program, Hyundai.
A technology once limited to luxury vehicles, products like Blue Link are now widely available.
“Blue Link offers many features for your vehicle, lock, unlock, flash the lights to find it in a parking lot. We have SOS and automatic collision notification so if you’re in an accident, it triggers a notification straight to our call center that provides assistance and dispatch emergency services right away,” explained Perrault.
The stolen vehicle recovery feature is only used in partnership with police.
“We 100% rely on police engagement. We want to make sure the vehicle is in a safe environment, is it being driven? Is it a hide speed chase? And those kinds of issues are of utmost importance so we rely on the police department to request either slow down or immobilization,” explained Perrault.
Hyundai’s technology will allow its team to see where a vehicle is in real-time on a map but it doesn’t have a live street-view. Perrault says after officers get a view of the vehicle, they will determine its safe to slowdown or immobilize it.
In the case involving Metro police, officers gave the call to slowdown the stolen SUV on I-65 North. When slowdown was initiated, officers say the suspect, Alex Oldham, got out of the vehicle and ran. He was arrested after a short chase and charged with theft and drug offenses.
On-Star also offers a service similar to Blue Link. While Metro police was the only agency News 2 found to work with Hyundai on this service, the Wilson County Sheriff and Franklin Police say they’ve used GPS technology to track stolen cars.