Ford has filed a patent for an autonomous Robocop police car, which aims to catch traffic law violators. Ford's autonomous police car will use machine learning tools to take action and catch those who break the speed limit or run red lights and issue tickets remotely.
Taking in information, the robot car can determine what law was violated and take action.
Autonomous Car That Can Give Out Tickets
How is Ford's autonomous Robocop car different from regular police cars? The autonomous police car would be outfitted with cameras, road sensors, license plate readers, touch-sensitive panels, speakers, LIDAR, ultrasound sensors and microphones, satellite connectivity, and radar detectors.
Also mentioned in the patent are machine learning and neural networks. The use of artificial intelligence in the car can raise caution from privacy advocates regarding surveillance. In order for the car to work, it would have to be connected to a network that has a record of drivers.
In the diagrams provided with the patent application, it shows scenarios that demonstrate the capabilities of the car. Using machine learning through deep neural networks, the car finds hiding places to appear inconspicuous.
Another diagram shows the way that it is able to detect a vehicle that is not following the law. This would require the offending car to have wireless technology to communicate with the robot car. It would follow the car, communicate with the vehicle wirelessly to get the driver's information, and then issue a warning or give that person a ticket.
Using the same wireless technology, the car could also use a speed camera or connect to another sensor to prove what the driver was up to.
This patent may not actually lead to the technology it is showing. It just may be a way for Ford to cover itself legally if another company comes up with it before they do. Having the patent for a police car that can do all those capabilities may come in handy when the current technology catches up to the concept.
Ford filed this patent back in 2016. If there was any movement on the robot police car, there's a good chance that the carmaker would be showing it off. Lucrative government contracts for advanced technologies that can help police would put them ahead of other carmakers.
There is also the problem of automated technology still not being as accurate as humans. Red light cameras and speed cameras can help cops, but there are times when towns and municipalities have taken advantage of people with the automated technology to cover a budget shortage.