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FORD TO BATTLE CAR THEFT WITH RADIO FREQUENCY TRANSPONDERS FROM TEXAS INSTRUMENTS

 BEDFORD, U.K., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year, car thieves and joy riders make off with millions of vehicles around the world. But next year in Europe, felons with a fondness for Fords may find their efforts thwarted by tiny radio frequency transponders concealed in ignition keys.
 A new "vehicle immobilizing" security system, which will be included on 1994 Ford cars arriving at European dealerships this month, uses Texas Instruments Registration and Identification System (TIRIS(TM) radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to foil would-be thieves. Designed by Ford Motor Company's Electronics Division, this anti-theft security system, called SafeGuard(TM), will be implemented on Ford's two highest volume European models, the Escort and Fiesta, and may be introduced on some U.S. models as early as 1995.
 Radio frequency technology from TIRIS provides a tamper-proof electronic link between the driver's key and the ignition system of a specific vehicle. In the system, an electronic transponder containing a unique code is embedded in the head of the key, and a radio frequency reader is installed in the steering column. If the reader doesn't receive the expected signal from the transponder when the ignition is turned, the car's fuel system (or in some model's, the car's electronics) won't function. In other words, the car will not start without the right key.
 TIRIS technology adds a greater level of theft protection to vehicles than current anti-theft methods. For example, the system is much easier to use than PIN-based systems that require drivers to remember and punch in a code. Unlike infrared systems, the technology cannot be overridden. In addition, the use of passive, or battery-free, radio frequency technology eliminates the normal wear-and-tear and resulting replacement of keys common to contact-based security systems.
 Nicholas Brookes, vice president and general manager of TIRIS for Texas Instruments, noted that Ford and Texas Instruments are a full year ahead of any other companies in the implementation of an RFID anti-theft system. "Ford buyers will now have a new class of security that replaces cumbersome systems that require people to turn devices on and off or wrestle with special locks."
 The technology is virtually transparent to drivers. The radio frequency reader's antenna is integrated with the ignition switch and the steering lock barrel, while its transceiver is electrically connected with the car's Electronic Engine Controller (EEC) module. When a key is inserted into the ignition and turned, the reader is automatically activated and sends out a signal that charges the key's transponder. The transponder sends back its code, which is compared with the code stored in the EEC module. If the codes match, the module enables either the fuel pump relays or the EEC itself. The entire transaction takes place in less than a second.
 Future applications for TIRIS technology in the automotive industry include automatic car entry and locking systems, personalized seating and climate control settings and automatic access to garages and parking lots. The same TIRIS technology has also been specified for new vehicle identification applications that automate toll collection.
 TIRIS technology uses low frequency radio signals to uniquely identify and trace a wide variety of items in applications such as security and inventory control to distribution and fleet management. Unlike conventional ID technologies such as barcoding, TIRIS radio frequency identification systems do not require contact or direct line- of-sight. The TIRIS product line consists of a series of transponders, handheld or stationary reading and data input units, system software and support.
 Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) established the TIRIS organization as a worldwide business venture in 1991 to manufacture and market radio frequency identification products for a variety of applications. Specialist design and application centers are located around Europe, the U.S., the Far East and Australia to provide local engineering support. Manufacturing facilities are in Holland, Japan and Malaysia.
 /Note-to-Editors: A color diagram demonstrating how TIRIS technology prevents auto theft is available on disk (Adobe Illustrator for Macintosh). Color pictures and video are also available./
 -0- 10/13/93
 /CONTACT: Roland Onorato of Texas Instruments, 508-699-3450; or Kimberly Ryan of Bridgeman Communications, 617-451-3325 for TI/
 (TXN F)


CO: Texas Instruments: Ford ST: Massachusetts IN: AUT SU:

DD -- NE001 -- 1470 10/13/93 08:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 13, 1993
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