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IBM and Mercedes develop "Stolen Vehicle Help” for Mercedes me service

In the Philippines, three hundred twenty-six incidents of car thefts were recorded in 2018 alone according to the Philippine National Police- Highway Patrol Group, however the numbers of carjacking decrease further in 2019 and 2020 due to the implementation of enhanced community quarantine, which limited the movement of the people.

It is interesting to note here that according to Philippine National Police (PNP), the crime of carjacking is not just limited to stealing the car. The 2016 Philippines Anti-Carnapping Act covers the following activities - defacing or tampering with a serial number on any part of the vehicle; repainting the vehicle to change the color as registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO); “body-building” or “remodeling” to change part or the entire shape or form of the body; dismantling parts or overhauling the whole engine; transferring vehicle plates without approval of the LTO; and sale of used spare parts obtained from a carjacked vehicle. For criminal syndicates, carjacking is often the first step in the world of crime. Selling off the car parts can be a source of quick cash. The stolen car can be used for other crimes such as robberies and transporting drugs. Carjackers are opportunistic; victims are not often targeted by sex, race or age. Hence a large number of carjacking incidents tend to happen during the late hours or early mornings, and in areas outside the business districts of Manila.

Technology can be one of the most important line of defense against these crimes. Digital, connected car services can offer a solution to help address this risk and enhance the potential for law enforcement to recover lost or stolen vehicles.

IBM and Mercedes developed in close collaboration the “Urban Guard -Stolen Vehicle Help,” a recently launched service in the Mercedes me app designed to help find and recover stolen vehicles. Given the importance of speed in the event of a theft, the service collects relevant vehicle and customer data.

Built into the Mercedes me App, the “Urban Guard – Stolen Vehicle Help” service is designed to help customers and law enforcement track and recover stolen vehicles. Given the importance of speed in the event of a theft, the “Stolen Vehicle Help” service collects relevant vehicle and customer data that can help law enforcement identify and recover a vehicle. This data, along with the vehicle position data is then shared with law enforcement via a service partner which is authorized to communicate with world-wide police stations.

In close collaboration, IBM Global Business Services and Mercedes together analysed and defined the end-to-end process: From the front-end customer experience in the event of a theft, to the process of securely sharing the live data and the backend processing. IBM Global Business Services developed the back-end using cloud-native open-source technologies, such as the Red Hat build of Quarkus, to achieve high-speed performance. As implementation partner, IBM Global Business Services delivers the technical interaction between the various involved parties and existing systems, such as customer data APIs and call center tools.

“Increasingly, consumers expect and value digital, connected services equally to the drive performance of the vehicle, meaning connected car experiences are as important as horsepower or handling,” said Juergen Braun, Vice President and Industry Leader Industrial, Automotive IBM DACH. “Developing connected car services that help safeguard the owner’s investment is a meaningful way for Mercedes to deepen its relationship with its customers, as well as differentiate itself.”

The “Urban Guard - Stolen Vehicle Help” service was initially made available to European customers in November 2020. Following effective recovery efforts, the service is now available to eligible customers in select countries in North America and Asia Pacific.

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