Ferry Ride Makes Three BMW Shared Cars To Think They Got Stolen, They Lock Up

The users of a Washington State ferry encountered an unexpected bug behind a security function of BMW’s car-rental startup called ReachNow.
BMW i3 rented through ReachNow start-up 1 photo
It happened over the Memorial Day weekend, and all three vehicles that were involved belonged to ReachNow. Apparently, the cars were rented by users of the program, and they took them on the ferry, but could not drive them off once the ship had docked.

The ferry then suffered delays, as two of the vehicles had to be towed out of it to allow others to leave the ship. Apparently, the unexpected bug we mentioned was a security function that was supposed to prevent the vehicles being accessed if they were unlawfully taken and sent overseas.

Those cars “figured out that” they were “stolen” thanks to a link between GPS coordinates, locked doors, and an engine that was turned off. However, there is no explanation as to why the vehicles would refuse to unlock and drive away once they reached another destination without using their wheels.

Interestingly, one of the vehicles was unlocked and drove off eventually, which would raise a few questions about the security of the self-locking mode. The operators of the ferry system told Seattle Times that they dealt with stalled cars on a daily basis, but two trucks are rarely needed.

The ferry system has decided to advise ReachNow users exercise care when getting on their boats to prevent situations like these. Leaving a door open is recommended, and having your member card on your person is also a good idea, company reps have explained.

A spokesperson for ReachNow confirmed that another driver suffered a similar incident earlier this year. In an attempt to prevent any problem of this sort in the future, the business has sent a tech team on the ferry to work out a better solution that will allow users of cars rented through apps to avoid these unpleasant situations without facilitating the potential theft of these automobiles.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories