The development of autonomous driving technology could migrate to police cars. Ford, which supplies vehicles for police and first responders, recently filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for an autonomous police vehicle; it would be capable of detecting traffic violations like speeding, and then communicate wirelessly with the vehicle and its human driver to verify identity and issue a citation, reports Yahoo.
Ford describes why such a police car would be needed in the patent application. “While autonomous vehicles can and will be programmed to obey traffic laws, a human driver can override that programming to control and operate the vehicle at any time. When a vehicle is under the control of a human driver there is a possibility of violation of traffic laws. Thus, there will still be a need to police traffic.”
The autonomous police car could gather data from traffic cameras and road sensors to notice infractions, or the vehicle itself might just “see” the violation on its own. It uses artificial intelligence to aim and operate on-board speed detection equipment, cameras, and communicate with other devices in the area such as stationary speed cameras. In the patent application, first reported by Motor1, Ford states that routine tasks, such as issuing speeding tickets or failure to stop at a stop sign, can be automated to free up police officers for other tasks.
Other situations described by Ford in the patent application call for the police officer to be in the car, but not driving. In such cases, the vehicle might respond and pull over someone driving erratically, for example. The human officer might need to intervene if the officer suspects the human driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.