San Francisco– Automaker Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia have developed anti-theft software for millions of their vehicles in the US in response to car theft incidents inspired by a viral social media challenge on TikTok, which will provide it free of charge to vehicle owners.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the “Kia Challenge” on TikTok has resulted in hundreds of car thefts across the nation, including 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities, reports The Verge.
In videos, thieves called “the Kia Boyz” taught how to bypass a vehicle’s security system with tools as simple as a USB cable, according to the report.
Hyundai and Kia update the “theft alarm software logic” so that the alarm sound lasts one minute instead of 30 seconds, and the key has to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.
Approximately 3.8 million Hyundais and 4.5 million Kias are involved in the software update free of charge.
Moreover, Hyundai will also provide its customers with a window sticker alerting would-be thieves that the vehicle is equipped with anti-theft protection.A
It will distribute the stickers and roll out software updates in stages beginning later this month and continuing for several months.
Further, Kia is also distributing free software updates in stages. The company will begin updating vehicles later this month, with subsequent phases taking place over the next several months.
In September last year, Hyundai and Kia have been sued in the US for a defect in their cars that was exposed in a TikTok challenge, which resulted in vehicle thefts soaring across the country.
A class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Orange County, California, alleging that Kias built between 2011 and 2021 and Hyundai cars built from 2015 to 2021 were “deliberately” built without “engine immobilisers”. (IANS)