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Ford to Develop Special Driverless Fleet for Law Enforcement Use

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【Summary】Currently, the automaker manufacturers over 63 percent of police cars in the country. According to the patent, Ford is in the process of automating several dangerous processes that could make potentially deadly confrontations a lot safer.

Michael Cheng    Apr 25, 2017 11:48 AM PT
Ford to Develop Special Driverless Fleet for Law Enforcement Use

Law enforcement groups in the US can look forward to a huge upgrade in police-issued vehicles manufactured by Ford. Currently, the automaker manufacturers over 63 percent of police cars in the country. It's also leading the development of driverless technology for private vessels. The business plans to combine the two in order to release the ultimate law enforcement vehicle.

The company's plans to make a smart, driverless police car was uncovered in a recent patent filing that was published by the Intellectual Property Office.

Autonomous and Smart

According to the patent, Ford is in the process of automating several dangerous processes that could make potentially deadly confrontations a lot safer. To reduce direct contact with criminals and bombs, the group intends to install a myriad of different sensors around the car. One of these sensors would be capable of detecting chemicals used in bombs and other explosive devices, such as charcoal, potassium chlorate, red phosphorus and ammonium nitrate.

In driverless mode, the unit would patrol streets autonomously as part of a larger fleet that is managed remotely by a police rep. It is unlikely that the cars will be catching offenders on their own. Instead, they will support operations by acting as a detaining unit. For example, after restraining a criminal, the self-driving police car will first scan the vehicle using its sensors to look for dangerous objects. Next, it could host the person in the vessel and prevent unauthorized individuals from entering, via a pin number.

The vehicle will autonomously profile the criminal using optical sensors and on-board cameras. Information is sent to the police station and the individual is ushered in the driverless pod to the facility for further questioning. In such cases, confrontation is greatly minimized, protecting both the offender and the police rep.

"Ford also wants to measure heat, infrared, motion, force, weight and pressure. An on-board computer would constantly scan the interior, the boot, the vehicle body, under the chassis and the roof," explained Mark Blunden from Evening Standard.

Hybrid Ambitions

The release of driverless police cars may take some time to fully materialize. To keep police vehicles updated before this futuristic era, Ford wants to first unveil a fleet of "pursuit rated", hybrid law enforcement vessels – called the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan. This will be the first of its kind for the industry, making it the second electric car (out of 13) that the company will introduce by 2021.

The term "pursuit rated" refers to a powerful design that enables the units to travel at blisteringly fast speeds for long periods of time. To ensure it can handle long pursuits, the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan will come with a fuel efficiency rate of 38 miles per gallon, as estimated by the EPA.

"Electrifying our next generation of vehicles is core to our unwavering commitment to sustainability," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president. "By being a leader in electrified vehicles, we remain committed to delivering cars, trucks and SUVs that are better not only for our customers, but for the environment and society as well."

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