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Montreal-developed app could stop car thefts with secure kill switch


Engineer Jean Poulin says thieves who want to drive away with his car better be prepared. 

The 59-year-old Polytechnique graduate invented a kill-switch mechanism installed under the dash that's connected to the owner's smart phone. 

Without a secure access to the IKS Technologies app, thieves can't move the car. 

Even if someone has a copy of a smart key, or clones the signal, it won't start the vehicle.

"If I'm trying to start the car, there's nothing, so I'm unable to start it," said Poulin, demonstrating the device from behind the wheel of his Jeep.

A click on his app quickly allows the key to turn in the ignition. 

If thieves attempt to tow the car, a motion detector will immediately send a signal in real-time to the car owner.

Poulin explained that the app has the advantage over conventional tracking systems, which only become useful once you realize your car is gone.

"That's the beauty of the system right now because we are working before to end the situation," he said. 

In addition, if someone tries to play with the wiring, a 130-decibel siren will ring inside the car, and it still won't be enough to get the car moving.  The thieves would have to find, isolate, and by-pass the kill-switch under the dash, adding delays thieves rarely have time for.

In Quebec, it is estimated that a car gets stolen every 37 minutes, and two out of three cars will never be recovered, as they end up in container ships at the port of Montreal. 

Poulin said his app is fully secure and relies on a two-factor authentication.

It also requires a monthly subscription fee.

He said his technology brings together several existing anti-device systems into a single one.

Poulin and his backers are in the final testing mode. 

They're already signing up car dealerships, and the kill-switch system is expected to hit the market by the end of the summer.

"We're going to to do a partnership with them to say okay now and we're going to be able to spread it across you like Canada," said Poulin.

If everything goes according to plan, car thieves, for once, might find themselves locked out of potential marks. Top Stories

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