UK plant tracking specialist, AMI Group, has announced the recovery of stolen machinery using a combination of tracking technology and drones.

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AMI says its assisted GPS tracking is accurate up to 1 metre

AMI received information that one of its customer’s Kubota mini excavators had been stolen overnight from a school in Buckinghamshire, UK. Once AMI had obtained a crime reference number from the police it monitored the unit until a positive GPS position was obtained via its Nexis web-based software platform. Movement alerts were added and the unit’s GPS wake-up times were made more frequent. AMI then despatched a finder team to the location in question to recover the asset. Upon arrival it became apparent that the site was extensive so AMI decided to conduct reconnaissance using drones. According to AMI, its drones work from remote or secure locations up to 7km away whilst streaming HD video footage to the AMI finder team. They can fly at an altitude of 400ft and are virtually silent whilst searching the area, AMI said.

During the drone surveying the AMI finder team located a row of shipping containers in the corner of the yard. The GPS asset location revealed that the machine owned by AMI’s customer was in one of these containers. The police were then called to enable a thorough search of the shipping containers. Whilst waiting for the police to arrive the RF (radio frequency) beacon on the AT5 tracking unit was activated to confirm exactly which container the stolen machine was located in. After scanning the RF frequency, the correct container was confirmed and the police opened it to reveal the stolen Kubota mini excavator. Alongside the mini excavator was a second stolen excavator, without tracking technology, which the police also returned to its rightful owner.

The Kubota mini excavator was protected with AMI’s AT5 unit. The AT5 is a self-contained, wireless, battery operated tracking device which can be covertly installed on plant machinery. As such, AMI said it is best suited as an after-theft unit. It measures 21 x 55 x 52mm in size and has a battery life of up to 20 years. AMI said it utilises sensitive, assisted GPS positioning accurate to within 1 metre. AMI described the AT5 as a ‘fit and forget’ solution and said it can be transferred from machine to machine with ease within minutes. With no hard wires to trace, the AT5 is difficult to locate in the event of a theft, AMI added.

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