Detroit, MI – The Ford Motor Company has applied for a patent that will allow the company to design autonomous police vehicles, capable of handing out tickets without having an officer present.
“An autonomous police vehicle may enforce traffic laws by identifying violators, pulling over the offending vehicle, capturing an image of the license plate of the offending vehicle … determining whether to issue a warning or a ticket,” was the description of the self-driving police car in its patent application, according to The Daily Star.
“Autonomous police vehicle may be trained or otherwise programmed using machine learning tools – deep neural networks – to find good hiding spots to catch violators of traffic laws,” the patent application explained.
The artificial intelligence (AI) police car would have cameras and wireless communication sensors, and was being marketed as a way to catch speeding drivers.
The Daily Star reported that the autonomous police cars can be linked to other police vehicles so they can call for back-up from an actual police officer in emergency situations.
ExtremeTech reported that the AI-operated police car of the future, the patent for which was originally filed by Ford in 2016, would be able to monitor traffic and identify vehicles that break the law.
It could also pursue other vehicles, meaning Ford believed the car could drive itself in varying conditions without a human in control, according to ExtremeTech.
Ford’s patent said the car could plug into wireless sensors like red light cameras and speedometers to collect evidence. If the violation was deemed minor, the car wouldn’t pursue a suspect, but could simply send a citation wirelessly to the car as it drove past.
Companies file futuristic patents like the one Ford did to protect their ideas, ExtremeTech reported.
The fact that a patent has been filed doesn’t mean Ford will follow through on building the AI police car, although the technology to pull it off isn’t far away.
Questions remained about whether the AI vehicle would be able to understand context, such as a car needing to speed up to avoid an accident, when determining whether to give a ticket.
Critics have said the cars will have the effectiveness of other speed-camera devices.