Van crime is on the rise in Europe, as a van is now broken into once every 23 minutes in the U.K. Insurance claims for tool theft rose by more than 50 percent in 2019, with theft costing U.K. tradespeople £264 million ($358 million USD) a year, or £11,566 ($15,689 USD) on average per victim. Ford Guard Mode – a connected-vehicle security system that monitors vans in real-time and alerts small fleet managers, owner-operators, and drivers via their smartphone of potential breaches in security – is designed to help fight this alarming trend.
Accessed using the FordPass Pro smartphone app, Ford Guard Mode is the first feature that the automaker will activate with an over‑the‑air (OTA) software update, and will be progressively rolled out across the manufacturer’s vehicle lineup. When activated, Guard Mode employs various sensors to detect when someone enters the vehicle, opens the hood or rear cargo door, or starts the engine. Then, using the vehicle’s FordPass Connect modem, it sends a push notification to the owner’s smartphone alerting them of the activity.
Guard Mode will even send an alert if a vehicle is unlocked or started using a key – an action that would not trigger a conventional vehicle alarm and may be useful in light of a key being stolen or cloned. The Guard Mode screens in the FordPass Pro app highlight the times the vehicle was accessed, the reason for alarms, when trigger actions happened, and the vehicle’s last known location.
Soon, FordPass Pro app users will be able to schedule when Guard Mode is activated. Ford continues to work with owners and partners to develop further features that bring peace of mind to those who rely on their vehicle and its contents for their work. Guard Mode builds on existing alarm notifications in FordPass Pro, including Trailer Theft Alert, which sends an alert if it detects an attached trailer is being unhooked while the vehicle is locked.
Ford will now wirelessly deliver many new features and quality enhancements to customers’ vehicles as soon as they become available, enhancing productivity while minimizing downtime for service center visits. In an industry-first for commercial vehicles, Ford Guard Mode will be the first new feature to be activated by an OTA software update.
Regular OTA software updates will use FordPass Connect, which is now standard equipment across the vast majority of Ford commercial vehicles. Subscription to FordPass Connect connected vehicle services, which includes a wide range of remote productivity and convenience features via the FordPass Pro app, including Guard Mode, has now been made complimentary for European customers.
“Our vans help keep our customers moving and the tools inside keep them working. FordPass Pro and Guard Mode help owners protect their vehicles and their businesses by keeping them one step ahead of the criminals,” said Mark Harvey, director, Enterprise Connectivity, Ford of Europe. “And this is just the start. As all new vehicles now come connected, we see huge potential in developing additional security features to help our customers’ businesses thrive.”