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

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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.