Katya Pinkowski of Vancouver, Canada, left her Tesla Model S 85D in an underground parking garage. Upon her return, the car was nowhere in sight, and calls to towing companies were fruitless in determining where the electric vehicle had been taken.
Katya then made a call to let her husband Cary know that the Model S 85D was missing. With the smartphone app of Tesla, he was able to track the real time movement of the electric vehicle, and Cary then told the local police about the incident instead of requesting for Tesla to remotely deactivate the vehicle.
With Cary guiding them on where the thief was taking the vehicle, the authorities were then able to capture the Model S 85D thief and return the stolen car to the Pinkowskis.
While new technology was the main player in getting the stolen electric vehicle back to its owners, it is also new technology that allowed the car to be stolen in the first place. A spare wireless key fob was left inside the Model S 85D when Katya parked the vehicle, and when the thief approached the car and touched its door handles, the doors may have opened.
Smartphone apps that provide car owners with information on their vehicles, including their real-time locations, are not made only by Tesla Motors, as both Hyundai and GM offer some version of the functionality to its customers. Several other car makers offer remote tracking services in cases of car theft, with one of the more high-profile recent uses of the technology seen when Mercedes Benz utilized its mbrace system to help track down the Boston Marathon bombers after they hijacked an M-class crossover.
Such new technology would help a lot in deterring, and even possibly ending, carnapping cases. With more vehicles becoming connected to cloud services, smartphone apps that can locate a customer's vehicle will make thieves think twice about stealing cars. The threat to wrongdoers is not only for newer vehicle models though, as third-party companies such as LoJack have also been providing aftermarket tracking services for stolen vehicles.
"I think it's the way of the future, that within five years all cars will be tracked, so the days of stealing cars are going to come to an end," Cary Pinkowski said.