(Photo courtesy of Project Overlord)
It’s harder than ever to get a car stolen these days. That’s good news, but it comes with a downside, a security flaw that could leave you stranded in the supermarket parking lot one fateful day.
“Because technology is advancing at such a high rate, auto theft is now down,” said Terry Gaskin, the founder of an automobile anti-theft device company called Project Overlord. Instead, he added, “they’re stealing wheels.”
When Gaskin left his job as an insurance broker, he decided to enter the automobile business.
But he soon discovered a risk hiding in plain sight: the theft of a wheel or rim. Gaskin tried to find a product that could help secure auto parts, but found no corresponding patents.
So he teamed up with about twenty former Nokia developers who had founded their own startup called Progetan.
They came up with RimTech, which includes an accelerometer and motion sensor placed inside the tires that set off an alarm and a notification to the user if someone comes too close.
If the tire moves less than three millimeters, the Bluetooth-enabled device will send a text message to the police and starts tracking its location.
The company is developing similar technology for bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs and commercial trucks.
Last June, Gaskin founded the company in his native D.C. to be close to powerhouses in the auto insurance and auto manufacturing industries.
The company now has 10 full-time employees working in the company’s Chinatown offices plus a team of Progetan contractors based in Houston, Dubai and India.
It’s currently raising funds for RimTech through an Indiegogo campaign, which attracted 13,000 views in about two weeks, said Gaskin.
Project Overlord was bootstrapped, until it cinched a $200,000 investment from former NFL linebacker Gary Stills, who now co-owns the company.
“That’s the best idea that I’ve ever come across besides athletics,” Stills told Technical.ly DC.
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