A Washington, D.C.-based startup company called Project Overlord Systems has developed a product called RimTech debuting in November that it promises will deter wheel theft, or track down would-be thieves via GPS satellite.
“Our goal is to stamp out wheel theft globally,” said Terrence Gaskin, company founder and CEO. “The U.S. is No. 1 in the world for wheel thefts, but there’s also a need for a product like ours all across the world.”
Gaskin came up with the idea for RimTech shortly in the midst of a career change. He left a health insurance brokerage company he founded to pursue his dream of working with cars. He wanted to start an aftermarket accessories shop.
“One day I was with my wife in Houston talking to a potential vendor on the phone when we saw a news report saying that some wheels had gotten stolen off a vehicle and it was becoming a rampant problem. I thought ‘What would happen if someone stole the wheels off a vehicle we just helped a client with?'” Gaskin said.
Gaskin contacted wheel manufacturers and retail stores to see if a product existed to protect from wheel theft.
“That same news report said wheel locks were not effective enough to completely deter thieves,” he said.
When nothing on the market seemed to fit what he was looking for, Gaskin decided to try and come up with one himself. He founded Project Overlord Systems Inc. in March 2014.
“I was lucky enough to be introduced to a gentleman by the name of Guru Sowle, CEO of Progetan. The company he led was made up of former designers in mobility for Motorola, IBM and Nokia who went off and formed their own design firm,” Gaskin said.
Progetan, and Indian company, agreed to partner with Project Overlord to help develop RimTech. The company also partnered with FOSSILSHALE, which specialized in embedded systems.
RimTech works as a two-stage security system, with a special tire pressure monitoring sensor embedded into the tire. The device works in conjunction with the vehicle’s TPMS and does not interfere with that system, according to Gaskin. The sensor communicates with the RimTech system, which is mounted in the vehicle trunk. That device communicates directly to the user’s cell phone should the wheel get tampered with.
“If somebody gets within 1 inch of the device, it sets off a proximity alarm on the vehicle and the system also alerts the user’s cell phone through a push notification,” Gaskin said. “If the thief continues to try to remove the tire from the vehicle, then the system utilizes a movement alarm. The police are notified by an SMS push signal that there is a theft happening at that particular area, address, and with the vehicle information, color of the vehicle.”
That’s when GPS tracking of the wheel kicks in, Gaskin said. The RimTech device is able to track the wheel location within a radius of 10 feet.
“Once the tire is removed off the rim,” Gaskin said, “the device itself will take at least 25 pictures of the surrounding area and send that information back to the user.”
Project Overlord Systems has a strategic partnership with IBM to provide backbone support for RimTech’s technology and database information, according to Gaskin.
The company also has a Kickstarter page available for customers interested in preordering the product.
Project Overlord Systems is launching RimTech in early November and plans to attend the SEMA Ignited event 3-10 p.m. on Nov. 6 in Las Vegas.
The company is selling its device to vehicle manufacturers, big box retailers like Best Buy and Walmart, as well as to aftermarket shops.
“It’s best to take it to a professional shop for installation,” said Gary Stills, a Project Overlord Systems part-owner. “It can be installed by any shop that handles tires.”
Gaskin said Project Overlord Systems will work on creating other products as well, with the goal of bringing a new product to market every year.
Those interested in selling and installing the RimTech system can contact the company at [email protected], or 240-273-3204.