Motorola Solutions acquires VaaS, makers of automated license plate readers, for $445M

Motorola Solutions, which split off from Motorola Mobility back in 2011, has added a new license plate capture tool to it law enforcement suite with the acquisition of VaaS International Holdings today for $445 million in cash and equity.

The acquisition should help enhance the company’s set of law enforcement products. “Within the public safety space [Motorola Solutions] provides an end-to-end suite that police departments can use. From radios to video analytics to the software the dispatch centers use to take in and respond to 911 calls, making sure all of the moving parts are integrated,” a company spokesperson explained.

As with most acquisitions of this sort, VaaS sees this as an opportunity to expand its markets and capabilities faster than it could on its own. “We believe commercialization of these new applications can be accelerated under the Motorola Solutions brand and reach, and we look forward to working together to grow and diversify our commercial business,” Todd Hodnett, co-founder of VaaS and president of Digital Recognition Network said in a statement.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights group, defines automated license plate readers (ALPRs) as cameras that “automatically capture all license plate numbers that come into view, along with the location, date and time. The data, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is then uploaded to a central server.”

The EFF claims that a camera mounted on a single squad car in a city can record up to 1800 license plates a minute, or up to 14,000 in a night. This data is then stored indefinitely by law enforcement, according to EFF. Motorola Solutions points out that they follow all applicable laws when it comes to collection and saving of this information.

“We continue to invest in compliance and auditing to ensure that data is protected and that access to the data follows the strictest regulatory and audit requirements. As we invest in data to help protect citizens, speed up and drive efficiency in investigations we are also investing in protecting the rights of citizens and public safety personal,” Andrew Sinclair, general manager and corporate vice president, Software Enterprise, Motorola Solutions told TechCrunch. It is worth noting that this type of data has been misused by some in the past..

VaaS projects 2019 revenue to reach $100 million from a combination of commercial and law enforcement business. The company name comes from the fact it’s made up two holding companies: Vigilant Solutions for law enforcement users and Digital Recognition Network (DRN) for commercial customers. Both of these entities will continue to operate as they get incorporated into the Motorola Solutions family.

The company was founded in 2014 and raised $5 million, according to Crunchbase data.