|Type||Vehicle, equipment and asset tracking and recovery system|
LoJack, also known as the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System (LoJack SVR), is a stolen vehicle recovery system that is integrated with law enforcement, enabling vehicles and equipment to be tracked and recovered by police. The system uses a hidden mounted transceiver and a tracking computer installed in police cars and aircraft, operating on a dedicated tracking frequency set aside by the Federal Communications Commission. The system combines recovery technology from LoJack, with telematics products and services from parent company CalAmp.
The LoJack system was created and patented in 1979 by William Reagan, who went on to establish LoJack Corporation. The name "LoJack" was coined to be the "antithesis of hijack", wherein "hijack" refers to the theft of a vehicle through force. In addition to offering vehicle recovery services, LoJack also provides a product that can assist in finding lost children, Alzheimer's patients and people suffering from dementia.
The core of the LoJack system is a small, silent radio transceiver that is discreetly installed in a vehicle. The vehicle is not marked as possessing a LoJack transceiver, and the location of the transceiver within the vehicle varies from one car to the next. Once installed, the unit and the vehicle's VIN are registered in a database that interfaces with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system used by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. In the event of a theft, a customer reports the incident to the police, who make a routine entry into the state police crime computer, including the stolen vehicle's VIN. This theft report is automatically processed by LoJack network computers, triggering a remote command to the specific LoJack unit in the stolen vehicle.
The command activates the LoJack unit to start sending out signals to LoJack police tracking computers on board some police cars. Every police car so-equipped within a 3-5 mile radius of the signal source will be alerted. The tracking units will display an alphanumeric reply code and an indication of the approximate direction and distance to the stolen vehicle. Based on the reply code, the police can obtain a physical description of the vehicle, including make (brand), model, color, VIN and license plate number. Police aircraft can also be equipped with tracking computers; airborne units can receive the (line-of-sight) signals from further away than ground-based units. The signal is received in equipped police vehicles, utilizing a phased array antenna system, hence the four distinctive antennas on the roof. This provides the directional location tracking capabilities of the system.
In 2013, LoJack announced that they will be releasing a device allowing for insurance companies to wirelessly monitor vehicles for driving habits and auto performance, and determine how safely their drivers are operating the vehicles.
LoJack transmits on a radio (RF) carrier frequency of 173.075 MHz. Vehicles with the system installed send a 200 millisecond (ms) chirp every fifteen seconds on this frequency. When being tracked after reported stolen, the devices send out a 200 ms signal once per second. The radio frequency transmitted by LoJack is near the VHF spectrum used in North America by digital television channel 7, although there is said to be minimal interference due to the low power of radiation, brief chirp duration, and long interval between chirps.
LoJack LotSmart is an inventory management platform that allows dealers to monitor vehicle inventory, location and operational status. LoJack SureDrive is a related product that uses the same hardware as LotSmart and is a connected car app that provides crash notifications, speed alerts and early warning alerts if a user's car has been moved.
- Comparison of device tracking software
- Connected car
- LoJack for Laptops
- Motor vehicle theft
- Radio direction finder
- Vehicle tracking system
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- Ian Ayres and Steven Levitt: "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack." Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1998, 113(1), pp. 43–77