The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently received filings from Ford that seem to suggest the company is investigating the possibility of building an autonomous police car. Using a wireless vehicle-to-vehicle system, it could communicate with an offending vehicle about what it’s doing wrong, ascertain information about its owner, and determine whether or not someone is actually behind the wheel.
This information, which was first brought to light by Motor1.com, comes on the heels of Ford acquiring two autonomous vehicle start-ups. What is perhaps most interesting about the potential application of driverless tech for a patrol car is that one of its primary objectives would be to curtail speeding and other unsafe driving activities – the very things that autonomous driving technology is supposed to eliminate.
While the essential benefit of the driverless patrol car would be to allow police officers to focus on more pressing areas of law enforcement, the vehicle could also utilize advancements in GPS, LiDAR, and artificial intelligence to identify the best places for setting up speed traps.
In addition to law enforcement, Ford is envisioning driverless applications that range from pizza delivery to ridesharing. The automaker has already deployed an experimental Ford Fusion pizza delivery car in Ann Arbor, MI.