Ford and ADT, a company that provides home and commercial security and alarm monitoring services, have formed Canopy, a joint venture that attempts to address flaws in current car security systems. Canopy will first sell an aftermarket device that can install on a vehicle to monitor its surroundings and notify drivers of hazards such as theft or vandalism. Built-in vehicle alarm systems can help deter some thefts, but they are not failsafe. The FBI predicted that $7.4 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2020, which includes both vehicle theft and vehicle content theft.
Canopy’s product, which has been tested in pilots with trucking companies in the United States and cargo vans in the United Kingdom for the past ten months, aims to combine Ford’s vehicle camera systems expertise with ADT’s monitoring service to help commercial and retail customers avoid vehicle theft. ADT’s first attempt into car security is Canopy, which is a product of FordX, the automaker’s new startup incubator that collaborates with other companies to quickly design, acquire, and test new transportation technology. FordX worked on Jelly, a dockless e-scooter sharing firm, in 2018, which served as the foundation for Ford’s purchase of Spin. Canopy appears to be the next stage in Ford’s plan to diversify its portfolio of scalable mobility solutions beyond its core business.
Canopy’s self-sticking accessory is planned to be available online and in various brick-and-mortar retailers by early 2023, and it works with any car make or model. It collects data about the vehicle’s surrounds using a variety of sensors, including a camera, radar, and acoustic sensors. The data is then processed in an operating system separate from the car’s own, which ultimately sends it to cloud servers over LTE or Wi-Fi. According to Leah Page, VP of mobile security and strategic projects at ADT, any probable thefts will be reported to the vehicle owner via a mobile app or to one of ADT’s 5,000 monitoring agents.
Page told TechCrunch that “when you think about the part ADT provides to the product, it’s really about helping to bring in AI solutions.” “So that’s the difference between a passing bird and someone breaking into your truck’s cargo bed to take something.” When that event occurs, it reported to ADT, and our monitoring agents alerted. Depending on the situation, this could range from just notifying the owner or an emergency contact to notifying the authorities.” Canopy plans to create another monitoring system in the future that connects to any car’s hardware and uses the camera and sensors to do the same safety functions. Canopy’s first integration will be with Ford, but the goal is to make all of Canopy’s technology available to any OEM.
“We have to do it in a multi-make fashion in order to solve the security concerns for the vehicles that are already out on the road today,” Christian Moran, director of FordX and interim CEO of Canopy, told TechCrunch. “We’re searching for a single solution that can run on a variety of trucks and vans, which are our initial target vehicles.” Canopy began with an emphasis on commercial customers, considering both huge fleets transporting valuable cargo and small business owners who have thousands of dollars in tools and equipment in the beds of their trucks and are frequently robbed. That will continue to be the first phase of the rollout, which will begin early next year. However, as the trials progressed, use cases for the average customer began to emerge.