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Brace yourselves: Autonomous police cars are coming

Brace yourselves: Autonomous police cars are coming
[Photo: Matt Popovich /Unsplash]

In today’s installment of Skynet Presents: Ford has just filed a patent for an autonomous police car. (Say it with me now: and so it begins…)

The patent application, which was originally spotted by Motor1, describes an autonomous police vehicle that can detect lawbreakers. It can function on its own, with police in the car, or in conjunction with surveillance cameras and roadside sensors. The new vehicles can chase down those who aren’t abiding by the law, issue citations, or whatever this means: “remotely executing one or more actions with respect to the first vehicle.” TechCrunch suggests it entails “wirelessly connect[ing] to the original car to communicate with the passenger, verify identity, and issue a citation”, which is less frightening than say capturing someone who made an illegal left turn in a tractor beam, but still pretty creepy.

The autonomous police car also comes with built-in AI that will be advanced enough to determine whether a driver’s infraction warrants a citation or simply a stern talking to, which presumably sounds like when KITT explains Silicon Valley to Michael Knight.

While patent filings don’t always translate to the real world (looking at you, Amazon Atlantis), this one seems almost inevitable–at least to anyone who has watched Black Mirror. If the cars do become a reality, let’s see if they fare better than Silicon Valley’s police robot.

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