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Ford Wants to Patent Autonomous Police Car

RoboCop cars will issue tickets to speeders

Forget sweet-talking your way out of a ticket. If Ford’s vision for the future becomes a reality, police officers won’t have to get out of their cars to dole out tickets to drivers. Instead, autonomous cop cars will issue tickets via wireless communication with the offending vehicle.

In a patent published earlier this year, Ford details an idea for autonomous police vehicles. Although drivers will probably revile such a concept, the patent argues that the deployment of self-driving cars can free up police officers for more difficult tasks that can’t be automated.

Once the autonomous police car identifies a vehicle that is violating traffic laws, it pulls the vehicle over. Then, it captures an image of the license plate and receives an image of the driver’s license, assuming that a human driver is behind the wheel. It can even determine whether to issue a warning or a ticket.

Apparently, the vehicle can make this decision by looking through records of any prior traffic violations associated with the driver, and if the record is clean, a warning may be issued. Here’s one of the most unsettling ideas: The autonomous police cars can be trained via machine learning tools to find the best hiding spots to nab speeders and other types of traffic violators.

The autonomous police cars may have cameras and lasers to detect traffic violators. It will also be able to search a database of local traffic laws to determine the legal speed limit for the road. A surveillance camera or roadside sensor could also cue autonomous police cars to offenders.

Like pretty much every major auto manufacturer, Ford has expressed its commitment to autonomous cars. The company says it will offer self-driving cars without a steering wheel or pedals by 2021. These vehicles will be used for ride-sharing services, and it may not be for several years later that fully autonomous cars will roll out for personal use.

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office via The Washington Post

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