Ford Has An Idea For An Autonomous Police Car That Could Find A Hiding Spot

Photo: USPTO 
Photo: USPTO 

Here’s something to make you squirm: Ford has submitted a patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an autonomous police car that could function “in lieu of or in addition to human police officers.”

Now, companies always file patents for technology that may never get made, but an autonomous police cruiser seems like the logical conclusion to the development self-driving cars. But damn is it weird to read about.


The patent, first noticed by Motor1, describes how the hypothetical car would rely on artificial intelligence and use “on-board speed detection equipment, cameras, and [it would] communicate with other devices in the area such as stationary speed cameras.”

Photo: USPTO
Photo: USPTO

There’s a number of other ideas in the filing that stand out: For instance, say a car runs a red light. “There may be [a] surveillance camera ... as well as [a] roadside sensor (e.g., camera), each of which may detect violation of one or more traffic laws, by vehicle,” the filing says.

That camera or sensor would then transmit a signal to a central computing system, which would then transmit a signal to the autonomous police car to spring into action and catch the scofflaw.


All of which is to say: Yikes! Of course, this is something that’s decades, if ever, from coming reality—but it sure is wild to see put to paper.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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PotbellyJoe and 42 others

I hate the concept of “Gotcha” police work.

If enforcement is about keeping us safe, they should be in neon cars with their lights on driving the roads with us.

If it’s about generating revenue they will hide, use stealth paint schemes, and other clever tricks like this one.

One is honest “protect and serve” the other is not.

Then the police are surprised when people have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to law enforcement.

I’m not anti-police, I have a problem with it being a revenue stream rather than what it should be safe commutes and communities.