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Artificial Intelligence

A ticket-writing patrol car

In the US, Ford has filed for a patent on an autonomous police car. Powered by artificial intelligence, it will be able to identify traffic violations committed by other vehicles and even issue tickets.

21 Feb. 2018 Roland Freist
Source: Ford/United States Patent and Trademark Office
Source: Ford/United States Patent and Trademark Office

Reminiscent of John Carpenter’s horror flick "Christine," according to a report by the Washington Post , car manufacturer Ford has designed an innovative police car that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to search for suitable places to take up position and monitor traffic. As described in detail in the filed patent , the car will then identify vehicles that are speeding or run a red light, for example, by scanning their license plates. With a connection to the central license registry and AI-aided image recognition, the police car will also be able to identify drivers and automatically issue them tickets. Ford declines to respond to the argument that future autonomous vehicles won't break traffic laws anyway, explaining that there will still be enough vehicles with a steering wheel in which people could disable their programming.

In 2013, the New York police tested a new police car model that scanned all nearby license plates while in motion, and also searched for traces of radioactivity. The vehicle was also capable of printing out reports, scanning barcodes, and even capturing and transmitting video. Unlike the Ford project, this prototype was controlled by a human driver.