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Driverless Police Drones May Patrol Busy Streets and Issue Digital Tickets in the Future

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【Summary】Charles Bombardier and Jan Metelka, Canadian engineer and Czech Republic-based artist, conceptualized this shift to algorithmic-powered policing through a series of superbike designs, called the Interceptor (not to be mistaken with the 2017 Ford Police Interceptor being tested by the Michigan State and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department).

Original Michael Cheng    Dec 11, 2016 11:25 PM PT

Self-driving technology is set to change the way cities operate. From autonomous delivery trucks to driverless mobility pods for the elderly, there are several ways to leverage self-driving systems to improve productivity and safety. In law enforcement, the technology is being used to modernize traditional police patrolling methods.

In the future, autonomous drones will likely oversee neighborhoods and streets, instead of humans behind patrol vehicles. Charles Bombardier and Jan Metelka, Canadian engineer and Czech Republic-based artist, conceptualized this shift to algorithmic-powered policing through a series of superbike designs, called the Interceptor (not to be mistaken with the 2017 Ford Police Interceptor being tested by the Michigan State and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department).

"Traffic cameras have been around for years. But with the advancement of pilotless technology we now have new solutions to the basic needs in our public works systems, including in the area of public safety," explained Bombardier.

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No Driver, No Problem

The duo from Imagineactive, a non-profit organization that focuses on designs for futuristic mobility designs, believes that officials patrolling the front lines will eventually be replaced by blazing fast bikes. However, it is likely that the fleet of driverless patrollers will still rely on a human representative to oversee operations with a ratio of one policeman for every five pods. It is important to consider that the police bikes will not be used to fight crime. The units could come with 360-degree panoramic cameras for comprehensive patrolling and scanning, as well as gyroscope rotors and heavy duty LED strobe lights with tamper resistant casings.

Due to the compact nature of the pods, there will not be any room to hold and transport potential criminals to the station. Therefore, the superbikes may only be used to automate mindless police work, like routine surveying or the issuance of tickets for minor parking violations, which could be pushed out digitally, via text message, app or email. When completing the issuance of tickets, police bikes may connect to municipal courts in the area to provide a timestamp of the violation.  

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EV Superbike Features

The Interceptor pushes the limits of autonomous designs by incorporating electric features into the engine. Charging stations around the city will be required to keep the speedy vessels in operation. Due to new infrastructure requirements, Bombardier mentioned that a hefty investment of $5 million per fleet is needed to bring the bikes out of the initial design stage and into public streets. The engineer failed to provide a timeline for the development of his "moonshot" concepts.

With bikes capable of entry-level, monotonous police work, human law enforcement officials can shift their focus to more important tasks that cannot be automated. Such tasks include crime scene investigations and mitigating reports of disturbances in residential or commercial locations.

"With the continuous advancement of autonomous cars, self-driving police vehicles have become the next innovation on the docket. It makes you wonder what would happen to insurance companies and policies with the lack of a human operator," said Chris Pentago from Tech.co. "And while you might have thought the invention of these vehicles would curb the amount of parking and speeding tickets you get, you couldn't be more wrong."

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