Fascinating technology

New Ford, ADT anti-theft technology is like a doorbell camera for your vehicle

Ford Motor Co. and ADT Security are taking steps to make criminals think twice before trying to steal your car, truck or van or anything in it.

The companies – through a new joint venture called Canopy – are bringing two new vehicle safety packages to market. The first is for truck and van owners who use their vehicles for business purposes, and the second expands to include SUV and car owners as well.

The anti-theft technology will begin shipping as an accessory sold by Ford, Amazon.com, big box stores and other retailers early next year. It will detect credible threats using newly installed camera hardware, artificial intelligence, and a mobile smartphone app that alerts vehicle owners with the ability to alert the police. This technology is designed to monitor the high volume loading areas of new and used commercial trucks and vans of a variety of makes and models, not just Ford.

This kit, which could be compared to the doorbell camera that has become so popular, uses professional ADT monitoring with live agents and is available by subscription. This accessory does not integrate with vehicle cameras and systems. Customers will be able to control the system, monitor video through live streaming, and receive threat alerts through a smartphone app.

This monitoring technology will eventually be available for even more new and used trucks and vans while extending to new and used SUVs and sedans, not just Ford products, the company said.

F-Series, Lightning

The industry’s largest commercial and retail pickups and vans will include the Ford F-Series, F-150 Lightning, Transit and E-Transit vans, Ford noted.

Following the launch of the initial accessory kit, a different security package will be offered to owners of new Ford vehicles and available by subscription.

Customers can monitor activity in and around vehicles using existing cameras while also having the option of subscribing to ADT’s monitoring with live agents. This technology will be rolled out to other automakers in the coming years, Canopy said.

Ford and ADT announced their new safety campaign and the creation of Canopy on Tuesday.

Canopy, which will have offices in Detroit and London, plans to build and sell its first vehicle accessories product and subscription service for trucks and vans in the US and UK.

In the works for two years, Ford has launched Canopy through its new Commerce Platform team as part of an overall initiative to tap into a potential multi-billion dollar revenue stream with software services and consumer subscriptions.

“We are truly excited to announce the merger of two industry pioneers,” Elliot Cohen, ADT’s senior vice president and chief business development officer, told the Free Press.

The key, he said, is marrying technology with humans monitoring everything and reacting in real time to disrupt activity rather than responding to crime after the fact.

No mistake with the birds

“It starts with cameras, sensors and AI,” Cohen said. “AI technology will identify and report credible threats. The technology we’re testing can identify someone lurking near your car. He can identify someone or something that breached the hold. He can tell the difference between a bird and a person. What becomes unique about this – the technology then alerts ADT’s monitoring agents who can then contact customers or fleet managers or even escalate to the police and then take further action to help prevent theft.

Car owners can subscribe to be notified of suspicious activity or monitor the live stream; video themselves.

Prices for the kits and services were not revealed on Tuesday.

Currently, he cited FBI data from 2020 which revealed that $7.5 billion in stolen vehicles and equipment were reported in the United States in 2020.

In October, Car and Driver magazine reported that Ford and Chevy pickup trucks were the most stolen vehicles of 2020.

“Car thefts have increased during the pandemic,” Cohen said. “We view this as a very timely issue. We have two industry pioneers and yet again amazing technology that Ford has incubated over the past two years – marrying what ADT has been doing for decades. We have 4,000 professional training monitoring officers who know what they are doing. It is their life’s work. When you put it all together. We believe we can literally put an end to vehicle theft.

These multi-sensor security systems have been tested to tell the difference between a cat jumping on the hood and a thief entering the truck bed.

Franck Louis-Victor, Vice President of New Ventures Platform Team at Ford, joined Ford in June 2021 after a long career in Europe specializing in mobile software and entrepreneurial initiatives. He came from the Renault Group.

“It’s very, very exciting to be here at this unique time when the industry is changing so much,” he said. “We’re going to move from being a car manufacturer…to a ‘permanent relationship between the brand and the customers’.”

Corktown offices?

Financial investment in Canopy is 60% to 40% led by Ford, Ford told the Free Press.

Ford declined to reveal the specific address of the new company.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker is set to launch a restored Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s gentrifying Corktown neighborhood and surrounding buildings, including the book depot next door, which will feature tech collaborations.

Christian Moran, interim CEO of Canopy, was director of Ford X, the innovation incubator that reports to Louis-Victor.

“The first product is actually an aftermarket accessory for many makes and models of vehicles. Canopy will sell this directly to consumers – primarily through e-commerce channels,” Moran said.

Canopy is hiring

Then Canopy will also provide its technology to automakers so they can integrate the software into new vehicles, he said. Pilot projects with ADT last year with trucks and vans in the United States and Europe provided important information and early orders for the product.

Canopy is starting with a team of 30 to 40 people, Moran said, with plans to grow over the next three years to reach 250 employees. These will be commercialization-oriented products and technologies. The team includes software engineers, hardware engineers, electrical engineers, designers and marketers, Moran said.

“The software is largely driven by artificial intelligence, so we have deep expertise in AI,” he said. “Canopy has the relationship with the customer. We sell the material and the subscription. ADT is the monitoring provider.

Moran told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday that he understands the need for this security because his father is a master carpenter who was the victim of equipment theft from a vehicle.

The first customers are plumbers, electricians, construction workers, landscapers and others who use their vehicles for work.

Thieves on the hunt

“Thieves have been even more active during the pandemic and know that business owners are storing valuable equipment in vehicles, often carrying over $50,000 worth of equipment. Canopy is there for those who are tired of flights threatening their livelihood,” Louis-Victor said in a press release. “The key to Ford’s software transformation is new ideas like Canopy and working with other innovators like ADT, which brings vehicle safety leadership by protecting families, homes and businesses. “

The system will trigger a smartphone alert of any indicators of potential criminal activity, such as glass breaking, metal cutting or suspicious movement or sound near the vehicle, Ford said in a press release.

Customers can notify would-be thieves that they are being watched by speaking through the smartphone app, enabled by a two-way audio feature.

For example, a car owner might say to an intruder, “I see you, dude in the blue shirt,” Ford told the Free Press.

Alerting the police is also an option

The system will be able to alert ADT security officers to vagrancy or intruder activity. Captured video can be used to make police reports, Ford said.

Canopy is seeking partnerships with automotive, insurance and technology companies to expand offerings, explore insurance benefits for using technology and co-create new innovations, Ford said in its press release.

Ford, ADT’s investment in Canopy is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approvals, and initial funding is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, Ford said in its press release. The company said the partners plan to invest about $100 million over the next three years.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, who has overseen an increase in Ford’s market value since taking office on Oct. 1, 2020, said technology capabilities are key to creating value and increasing revenue.

Ford Motor Co. and ADT Security, through a new joint venture called Canopy, are bringing two new vehicle security packages to market. The first is for truck and van owners who use their vehicles for business purposes, and the second expands to include SUV and car owners as well.