The History Of Car Tracking

Car Tracking Has A Past.. But Do You Know How Long It Has Been Around?

We are going to delve into the world of car tracking and when it all started. Just as we covered the history of GPS tracking devices, we will do the same here. Your parents most likely didn't have to worry about the traditional ways of car tracking.. but they had other things to keep them on their toes.

Roger L. Easton. get familiar with that name. He is the gentleman behind the original GPS tracking device for vehicles. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's he had set out to create GPS or Global Positioning Systems. As covered in our blog about GPS which can be found here. This story follows in similar roots, as it is all interconnected. 


Car Tracking in the 1980's

Some of the first car tracking devices were created in the 1980's but they really did not gain popularity until the 2000's. Originally intended for use by the military, police had caught on and eventually began to use GPS devices when deemed legal. 

Mainstream GPS use

The first widely used GPS tracking device used in the United States modern production was called GuideStar. It was used beginning in 1995 by the car manufacturer OldsMobile as their flagship tracking device. There is a great article here about how the modern navigation devices came to be part of modern vehicle production, you can read more here. From what i've gathered, this system was called ONIS (Oldsmobile Navigation/Information System). While in development for five years, the whole goal was creating simplicity ad functionality that would make sense for every day use. So Oldsmobile partnered up with AVIS the car rental service, (yeah, they've been around that long). 

They ended up with such positive feedback in 1994 that they ended up adding it to every vehicle in the line up in 1995, and Guidestar was the rebrand. Although it was only available in CA at the time, there were twelve more states added soon after allowing for more and more customer base to be reached. 

Fun side note, the entire US was mapped out within a year, in 1996. As the market for the GPS device had grown so did the demand. The fact that this technology was so robust and actually worked at this time was pretty remarkable. It had a 4 inch screen and an actual system in the trunk of the car, along with the antennas and all the rest of the necessary components to track something at that time. It was anti-theft and honestly revolutionary. But with a hefty price tag, just around $2,000, and the car itself was ranging from $20.000 to $25,000 so that is right around 10% of the vehicles overall cost for the GPS system. 

Asia Had Us Beat

Japan had the first ever production vehicle with GPS in the Mazda Eunos Cosmo, and that premiered back in 1990! Long before I was even born, Japan had been taking strides to improve user experience and peace of mind with a navigational feature that surpassed many archaic ways before that period. 

Toyota and Mitsubishi followed soon there after in '91 and '92 with models featuring GPS tracking devices, big antennas and center console facing screens. 

It was the product of the future, and definitely didn't come without cost. At around 1/10th of the cost of the vehicle, these systems were for the big ballers, those who were in the upper echelon of their society. 

Brief History Continues

GPS has become integrated into our society. It is now a daily part of life from text messaging, phone calls, to navigation it seamlessly flows along side us and all of our daily activities. 

To learn more about modern GPS tracking devices and some of the best devices available, visit our site and ask us some questions!






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