Motorola Solutions Pays $445M for VaaS, Which Tracks Car Locations

Fort Worth—Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) is acquiring a Texas company that sells law enforcement offices and private businesses data it collects about license plates—which can reveal where a car is at a certain time, say—for $445 million in cash and equity.

Through two subsidiaries, Fort Worth, TX-based VaaS International Holdings sells data and image analytics services to locate vehicles. The company uses cameras, which can be placed in a fixed position or on something mobile like a vehicle, to record the license plates of cars that are parked or driving. The company says its cameras are connected to machine learning and artificial intelligence software, which also records the location of the vehicle and the time it was spotted.

VaaS monetizes that data through two subsidiaries: Livermore, CA-based Vigilant Solutions, which targets law enforcement agencies, and Fort Worth-based Digital Recognition Network, which offers services to commercial customers—in particular, auto finance businesses, auto insurers, and auto collections agencies.

For the law enforcement side of things, Vigilant Solutions says its product may help law enforcement officers during investigations into missing persons or in finding people suspected of a crime. Vigilant says law enforcement agencies can put its cameras on their squad cars, or have the cameras installed at “strategic locations” throughout a city. The company also sells access to facial recognition software, which it says will let officers upload even low-resolution photos and match a face against a database of 15 million photos that the company maintains.

For commercial customers, Digital Recognition Network’s software and data tools might help an insurer with underwriting, for example, by helping it confirm a client’s car is actually being parked where they say it is, the company says.

VaaS expects to have $100 million in revenue in 2019, according to Motorola. Chicago-based Motorola Solutions is the communications company that was founded as Motorola Inc., but spun off its mobile communications business as Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) in 2011. Motorola Solutions is focused on communication technology for public safety and private customers—anything from command center software and two-way radios to cybersecurity systems and video analytics tools.

In another automotive-imaging deal back in October, an Austin company called NuPark was acquired by Charlotte, NC-based Passport, a company with software that helps cities and other organizations manage operations. NuPark makes video and software technology that helps customers such as schools and governments manage parking.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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