India eyes microdots to fight car theft, counterfeiting

India’s transport ministry has published a notice that when implemented will call for motor vehicles and their parts to carry microdot security markings.

The July 24 notice – which is out for comment for 30 days – seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act with a new subclause that will allow “motor vehicles and their parts, components, assemblies, sub-assemblies etc” to bear permanent microdots giving each part a unique identity.

The intention is to help reduce automobile theft as well as to disrupt the trade in counterfeit components of inferior quality that can put lives at risk. India’s Press Information Bureau said cars and parts should “be affixed with permanent and nearly invisible microdots that can be read physically with a microscope and identified with ultraviolet light source.”

It goes on: “The microdots and adhesive will become permanent fixtures…which cannot be removed without damaging the asset, that is the vehicle itself. The notification says that the microdots, if affixed, will have to comply with AIS 155 requirements.”

AIS 155 – drawn up by India’s Automotive Industry Standards Committee (AISC) and published in March – lays out the specifications for microdots including their recommended location, format, adhesive and coating materials and quality control measures.

Microdot security involves spraying thousands of the small dots laser etched with a unique identity – such as a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – throughout the vehicle. They are carried in an adhesive that fluoresces under UV light.

A number of car manufacturers are already using microdot technology to protect their vehicles and customers.

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