Device can track and operate vehicles through text messages using a SIM card hidden on board, turning handsets into remote controls
Tim Vutha demostrates his invention allowing car drivers to control their vehicle through a mobile phone.
IT is often seen as negligent, dangerous driving to use a phone while in your car, but computer programmer Tim Vutha says there are some instances that might call for it.
The inventor recently released his system to control cars via SIM cards, the circuitry behind GSM mobile phones, as well as track them through a Global Positioning System (GPS).
"I created this system to give more security to the drivers, so when their cars are stolen, we can stop the engine and give the owner the location of their car," Tim Vutha said.
The system enables car owners to control various parts of their cars, such as opening or closing doors, and starting or stopping the engine, by sending password-protected commands via text message to a SIM card hidden in the car.
The latest addition to his system, expected by the year's end, allows users to track their vehicle's whereabouts by GPS. Users contact Tim Vutha by SMS, and he will text back the vehicle's location, accurate to within about a city block.
The inventor said the GPS function is convenient for families who want to keep track of their children.
"They will not worry about their son, daughter or their car because they can control 24 hours by their phone," he said.
He said it's also useful for NGOs and companies that wish to keep better tabs on their employees. The feature collects data such as speed and location, so their staff could not cheat them and they can know where they are, he said.
The inventor and car enthusiast said the security system has been two years in the making. The SIM card is housed in a small control box hidden in the car, Tim Vutha said. He said the box is not easily found, and the system works with all network providers.
The entire system is expected to cost US$250, and Tim Vutha said he is also planning a cheaper monthly service.
Soun Pheakdey, a customer who regularly has her car repaired by Tim Vutha, expressed interest in his security system.
"I really want to use it because I want to keep track of my husband. With this, I don't need to ask him where he is, I just send a text message to Mr Vutha and I will know."