Why some electronic devices are affecting your car’s tracking signal

The Motor Vehicle Security Association of South Africa (VESA) has issued a warning to South Africa motorists after finding that a number of electronics are affecting the tracking signals in cars.

VESA is a non-profit organisation, representing its members through the test and approval of telematics and other vehicle security products such as alarms, immobilisers, gearlocks, wheel locks, microdotting and more.

The organisation’s Adri Smit said that a growing number of products in the retail market being fitted in vehicles are not meeting any industry approved set of standards in electrical and environmental specification.

“Such products, in essence, cannot be confirmed for reliability or may not be fit for purpose. In some cases certain products simply cannot be reliably tracked and the vehicle owner may be unaware that their system is not delivering the needed performance,” Smit said.

“Often users learn of malfunctions only when contacted by the supplier to have the unit replaced, which may happen only after testing was required through some unwanted, or unscheduled situation.”

Smit added that for this reason stringent electrical and EMC and environmental specifications and standards have been adopted by all motor vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) to ensure products fitted to motor vehicles are reliable and will both continue to operate while installed into the vehicle and will also not adversely affect the functionality of other systems in the vehicle.

“Unfortunately, VESA has identified a number of devices, including some MP3 players, without Icasa approval, which transmit in various frequency bands, that has been found to affect the GPS positioning and data transmission from tracking devices across the industry,” Smit said.

“It has been noted that this is a known problem across the industry and VESA is currently addressing this problem with Icasa.”

“All VESA Approved Telematics products provides for the highest level possible in security by the required inclusion of data encryption. Sadly over-saturation of frequency bands, with high amplitude signals in the correct frequency band, would still be able to illegally cause jamming.”

Smit said that VESA was also working hand  in hand with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) towards setting acceptable standards and service definitions.

This includes a new memorandum of understanding on the writing of a fleet tracking specification, which is expected to be circulated for public approval later this year with formal publishing once public comment has been received.


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Why some electronic devices are affecting your car’s tracking signal