Ford Global Technologies recently applied for a patent for an autonomous police car.
Katie Pyzyk | Smart Cities DIVE
The autonomous vehicle (AV) would detect when another vehicle violates a road law and could take actions either on its own or along with a human police officer. The patent application lists several possible actions the AV could perform, such as remotely issuing a ticket or even pursuing the offending vehicle.
Ford’s patent request might suggest the company is jumping the gun, considering that general public AV use hasn’t quite moved past the testing stage yet. But patents can take a while to go through, and many patents applied for never end up in a product being made. Securing a patent early can help if a company believes others soon might be vying to release a product in the same space.
There is great potential for a connected and autonomous police car, considering that it could communicate with such existing technology as speed cameras and light pole-mounted traffic sensors. The patent application presents a number of scenarios in which an autonomous police vehicle eventually could be used, from simple remote ticket distribution to more complicated actions such as directly communicating a message to another connected car it is pursuing, to which the violating vehicle could respond with its own message.