Ford is looking to build an autonomous police car capable of doling out punishment to motorists who break the law.
At least that’s the plan according to a patent recently submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office. Discovered by Motor1, the patent outlines the concept for a self-driving police patrol vehicle that enforces the rules of the road even without a policeman sat in the car.
The autonomous car would utilise vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication to talk to other cars on the road to discover what the cause of the traffic violation is. In practice, Ford’s car would establish a direct wireless connection with a speeding car and then send a message to its dashboard indicating that it’s going too fast and has been spotted. The vehicle would then reply to Ford’s police car informing it of if it was in autonomous mode or being driven by a human.
If a human was behind the wheel, the offending car would share the driver’s licence information and the police car would automatically file a ticket against the licence. It’s not specified if it’s a black or white affair, but it’s likely you won’t be able to talk your way out of a ticket if Ford’s police car is on your tail.
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Ford also explain that an autonomous police car could use AI to find optimal speed trap locations so it can lie in wait undetected as it looks for speeding motorists. It’s also unclear if it’ll go on patrols solo or is simply just there to aid a real officer who’s sat in the vehicle to deal with issues when they arise.
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It’s worth noting that patent filings don’t actually translate to final products, a lot of the time they’re simple there to keep ideas from falling into the hands of rivals. It’s likely Ford is looking into various applications around autonomous driving as it outlined its plans to move into the field and into EVs at this year’s CES.
Ford also works with police forces around the world to supply them with police vehicles, so it would make sense that they’re exploring the opportunities for intelligent police cars. The only issue with Fords proposed model is, what happens when the offending car isn’t a smart and connected one? Even in a future of autonomous vehicles, classic cars will still exist and many people will still be using “dumb” vehicles made as recently as 2017.
Ford’s patent may well be a nice idea, but it’s still falling within the realms of plausible science fiction than a hard and fast future.