Canopy, a new joint venture between Ford and ADT, will initially target van and truck fleets in the UK and US with new video camera technology to improve vehicle security.
The first multi-sensor, AI-driven devices will be launched as a stand-alone product early next year, before making it a factory-fitted option in Ford's commercial and passenger vehicles.
Canopy also aims to speak to other manufacturers about the technology’s potential.
Initially offered as a vehicle accessory, which can be installed by fleets in either a van’s cargo area or on a pickup facing the bed, the smart security system will make use of acoustic sensors for vans, onboard cameras, radar and GPS.
Recent research suggested that during the past year, more than a quarter of van drivers (27%) have been targeted by thieves stealing tools from their vehicle.
An average of 20,000 cases are reported to police forces across the UK each year, with the estimated cost of replacement tools and equipment standing at £15 million a year, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent to UK police forces.
Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro, said: “Commercial customers around the world are laser focused on protecting investments from costly replacements that can impact their bottom lines.
“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.”
Customers will be connected to the system via the Canopy app to livestream video from the vehicle.
The system will trigger a smartphone alert of any indicators of potential criminal activity, such as breaking glass, metal cutting, or suspicious motion or sound near the vehicle.
Canopy says that he system’s AI is designed to distinguish true threats from benign acts – such as a cat jumping into a pickup bed or construction sounds near a vehicle – before alerting the owner or ADT monitoring agents of potential theft.
Once alerted, ADT can then contact customers, fleet managers, or police to take additional measures to help prevent theft.
Credible threats can also trigger additional responses, including audible alerts and programmable voice recordings. Customers can also warn potential thieves they are being monitored by speaking through the smartphone app, enabled by a two-way audio feature.
Speaking about the new joint venture with Ford, Elliot Cohen, ADT chief business development officer, said: “The combination of our technologies and our deep security experience creates a new category of protection for work and personal vehicles.
“Vehicles represent the second-most-valuable asset for consumers, and helping to protect them extends ADT’s safe, smart, and sustainable solutions far beyond the home.”
The first devices will be sold through vehicle dealerships, major retailers, and online, with Ford Pro its launch partner.
Canopy says that pricing will be published at launch next year.
The Canopy team has been developing and testing for two years as part of Ford’s New Business Platform innovation incubation group. They will now be headquartered in Detroit and London and led by interim CEO Christian Moran.