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Intel’s Smart Car Knows When Thieves Are Breaking In

For car owners: a way to see if triggered alarms are legit; for everyone else: relief from blood pressure-spiking, piercing, random car sirens.

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If you have a car, chances are you’ve had the experience of having the vehicle alarm go off for no apparent reason. (If you’ve lived in New York City, you’ve contemplated throwing a brick out of your fourth-floor window onto said car at 4 a.m. to give it a reason.)  But what if there was a way to both make sure that thieves aren’t actually breaking in and turn off the alarm from afar? Intel is leveraging in-vehicle platforms, cell phones, and cloud computing to do just that.

The Intel Smart Car, on display at this week’s Research@Intel event in Silicon Valley, uses already-available proximity and impact sensors to detect when an object is close to a vehicle. If a person (or object) gets too close and the alarm is triggered, in-vehicle cameras are triggered to send images to a cloud-based server. The vehicle owner then gets a text on their iPhone with a link to the images–with that information, the user can decide whether to turn off the alarm remotely (with the phone) or check out the car in person. It’s such a brilliant simple idea, we can’t believe vehicle manufacturers haven’t already implemented it. Check out the vehicle of the Smart Car in action below.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

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