Ford's New Anti-Theft Technology Is Brilliant

Technology / 14 Comments

Meet Canopy, developed in coordination with ADT.

Having your vehicle stolen is probably one of the most annoying and frustrating things that can happen. Getting something snatched from the inside, like a smartphone, is also deeply disheartening. There are typical anti-theft systems new and old, but Ford figured it could do better. So it teamed up with security company ADT to create Canopy.

This new joint venture blends ADT's security monitoring capabilities with the Blue Oval's AI-driven video camera technology. Canopy makes use of things like acoustic sensors for vans (like the Ford Transit), onboard cameras, radar, LTE, and GPS. The monitoring product itself features a camera that's mounted in either a van's cargo area or a pickup truck's bed. The platform will then use AI tech to identify and report "credible threats while reducing false alarm signals." The included video showcases an F-150 owner catching a potential thief red-handed with his smartphone.

Ford
Ford
Ford

Customers will have the ability to connect to the system by using the Canopy app to livestream video from their vehicle. The system will also notify them of any suspicious activities. They can also view past occurrences, which can be extremely useful when filing insurance claims. If the system identifies a potentially real threat (breaking glass, metal cutting, and even suspicious motions), it'll trigger an alert to the owner's smartphone. Users can even speak to thieves and warn them away thanks to the app's two-way audio feature, due next year.

The AI tech is so advanced it can distinguish the difference between an animal hopping into a truck bed or regular loud noises from, say, a construction site. If a potentially serious threat is detected, Canopy will further alert ADT monitoring professionals, aka real human beings, who can then contact owners and/or the police.

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At first, Canopy products will be sold at Ford dealerships, major retailers, and online. Ford Pro will serve as the primary launch partner but we can easily see this technology expanding to other makes and models one day.

"Commercial customers around the world are laser focused on protecting investments from costly replacements that can impact their bottom lines," said Ford Pro CEO Ted Cannis. "Canopy will help Ford Pro deliver another service to fleets helping to improve total cost of ownership by staying productive and avoiding downtime associated with stolen tools and damaged vehicles - including the majority with mixed fleets since Canopy technology will be available across brands."

According to FBI data, stolen work equipment in the US alone amounted to over $7.4 billion in 2020, and that's a conservative estimate. Small businesses in particular are prone to in-vehicle thefts. Ford and ADT aim to change that.

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