Many caravans, campervans and motorhomes are considered a member of the family, with 85% of owners giving their vehicle a name according to a poll by Sentry, a GPS tracker technology start-up.
Olive and Betsy are among the most popular names, with others including Pinky, Dotty, Ellie and Misty.
With this level of affection, risk of theft can be a constant worry. It’s well-known that these vehicles are a prime target for professional criminals, and recovery rates are very low. While newer models are equipped with built-in GPS tracking systems, much-loved older vehicles have traditionally been harder to protect.
Sentry’s innovative GPS tracker technology, Smart-Lead, turns this around. Retrofitted to older vehicles and managed via an online portal, Smart-Lead allows owners to remotely disconnect internal electrics in the event of theft, reducing resale value and making recovery more likely. Its multipoint design means even tech-savvy criminals will find it difficult to disable the system. Additional features include a ‘virtual fence’ which alerts owners if their vehicle is moved from a specified area.
Prototype testing of the Smart-Lead is now complete, and Sentry is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise £50,000 to fund the first manufacturing run.
Sentry’s founder and inventor of Smart-Lead, Steve Roberts, says older caravans, campervans and motorhomes can be a treasured possession. They have often been lovingly maintained or restored and are associated with family memories, as well as representing a ticket to freedom.
“The fact that so many people name their vehicles underlines just how much they care about them,” Roberts explains. “We want to help boost their protection by deterring theft and making it easier to recover vehicles that do get stolen. It’s taken us several years to refine and test the Smart-Lead. Now we’re almost ready to manufacture our first full run if we can raise enough through the crowdfunding.”
Early Smart-Lead prototypes were created using 3D printing, and interest from the caravanning community has been high. Angel investment secured last year funded an engineering team to handle BSI testing and CE certification as well as development of the user-friendly online portal to manage the device.
The crowdfunding campaign runs until 30 September and supporters can pledge as much or as little as they like, with rewards available for any pledge of £20 or more.
Further information is available at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1135504185/gps-tracker-with-remote-immobilisation
Find out more about Sentry on their member profile page here