Van crime is on the increase in Europe with a tradesperson’s van now broken into once every 23 minutes in the U.K. Insurance claims for tool theft rose by more than 50 per cent in 2019, with theft costing U.K. tradespeople £264 million (€290 million) a year, or £11,566 (€12,746) on average per victim. Ford has now developed 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. Accessed using the FordPass Pro smartphone app, Guard Mode is the first feature that Ford will activate with an over‑the‑air (OTA) software update, and will be progressively rolled out across the manufacturer’s vehicle line-up.
Guard Mode is integrated into FordPass Pro, the smartphone app that helps owners to manage and control up to five vehicles, ensuring their fleet is ready for work with maximum uptime. When activated – for example after business hours or at the weekend – Guard Mode employs various sensors to detect when someone enters the vehicle, opens the bonnet or load compartment, or starts the engine. It then sends – using the vehicle’s FordPass Connect modem – a push notification to the owner’s smartphone.
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 minimising downtime for service centre visits. In an industry-first for commercial vehicles, 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 fitted as standard 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 to European customers