COLOGNE, Germany - Despite many people across Europe staying at home amid the pandemic, vehicle crime remains a problem, and is even on the increase in some countries.
While car alarms can help to deter thieves, in cities where vehicles may be parked on the street overnight, owners may ignore the alarm, not realise it is from their car, or fail to hear it altogether.
To help combat car crime, Ford has made its smartphone-connected heightened security system, SecuriAlert (formerly known as Guard Mode), available to car owners for the first time.
Once activated, SecuriAlert sends a notification to the vehicle owner’s smartphone if it identifies any vehicle activity, including attempts to open doors or gain access with a key, providing peace of mind to customers when their cars are out of sight – or out of earshot.
“Whether left on the street overnight or in a car park on a shopping trip, we know our customers care about the security of their car and its contents,” said Richard Bunn, director of retail connectivity solutions, Ford Mobility, Ford of Europe.
“SecuriAlert builds on Ford’s growing connectivity ecosystem to empower owners with the knowledge that if something happens with their vehicle when they aren’t driving it, they will be the first to know.”
So how does it work? Owners activate SecuriAlert when they are away from their vehicle. The feature is quickly and easily switched on or off – “armed” or “disarmed” – using the FordPass smartphone app.
Once active, it makes use of the vehicle's existing sensors to identify if an attempt is being made to enter the vehicle. Using the onboard modem, FordPass Connect, the car will immediately send a push notification to the owner's smartphone if it detects any activity involving their vehicle.
The FordPass app reveals the time and reason for any SecuriAlert alarms – via the smartphone – as well as the vehicle's last known location.
If an attempt is made to open a door using a key – an action that would not trigger a conventional vehicle alarm – SecuriAlert will still send an alert. This can be particularly useful in identifying attempts to access to a car using a cloned or stolen key.
When the owner returns to their vehicle – to drive to work in the morning, for example – they simply disarm SecuriAlert via the FordPass app and continue on their journey.
First introduced for commercial vehicles earlier this year, SecuriAlert is one of a suite of connected features now available to Ford customers.
In 2020, Ford made its connected vehicle services complimentary to customers across Europe, and recently announced a cross-manufacturer connected-vehicle partnership to warn drivers of hazards on the road ahead.