Security Technology

For decades, we’ve been managing physical security risk exposure for our Members. With connectivity adding a cyber dimension to the traditional threat of vehicle theft, all parties must be constantly vigilant to emerging digital vulnerabilities. 

Thatcham Research works in close collaboration with vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement, insurers, and the wider industry to identify any new exposed risks to models.


Since the early 1990s, Thatcham Research has been at the forefront of vehicle security

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and the need for a broad knowledge of security to identify associated risks is greater than ever. So too is the need for analysis of theft data, understanding theft trends and the types of devices used by thieves, and sharing those findings with affected manufacturers to enable the swift introduction of  countermeasures.

Most new models do have  countermeasures to alleviate risk, but many older models on the road today remain exposed, should owners not take extra security precautions of their own.

Recently, Thatcham Research has carried out extensive research into digital key technology, which allows drivers to unlock and operate their vehicle using a mobile phone, and to digitally share a key with another user. Thatcham Research has provided requirements to ensure the safe deployment of this technology, limiting any new risks associated with its use.

Vehicle manufacturers frequently introduce alternative methods that allow drivers to access and start their vehicle. As these methods become increasingly sophisticated with advancements in wireless communication technology, passive keyless entry systems (PKES) are being further developed to enhance driver convenience, reliability, and most importantly, vehicle security. 

Although the wireless communication technology utilised in these systems has its advantages, they potentially leave the vehicle vulnerable to numerous attack methods. We focus on these technologies and any associated vulnerabilities, working closely with vehicle manufacturers to enhance security.

Our focus and expertise in vehicle security and leading role in driving security standards have contributed to a 2/3 reduction in both thefts of and from vehicles in the last 20 years.

In the UK Thatcham Research provides a security assessment of all new models to market through the new vehicle security assessment (NVSA) programme. These results are entered into the insurance industry’s Group Rating process, enabling all theft risk exposures to be identified. As our research capabilities grow, NVSA requirements will advance dynamically in tandem with evolving technology and theft trends.

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