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Robotics Transportation

Ford Has An Idea For An Autonomous Police Car That Could Find A Hiding Spot (jalopnik.com) 115

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." From a report: 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, 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."
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Ford Has An Idea For An Autonomous Police Car That Could Find A Hiding Spot

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    In a world of self-driving cars, there will not be any speeders. OPPS!
    • You don't think a criminal would see the benefit of using a manual car for the 'getaway'? Let's hope the police cars are manual too.
    • You missed another obvious thing.

      Self driving police cars that park and hide somewhere, with no bored officers inside, will have a detrimental effect on the sales of donuts.

      New Executive Order: make self driving police cars be powered by donuts. Lots and lots of donuts. Nice, beautiful donuts. The best donuts. Trust me! Beautiful, classy, donuts. And believe me, I know my donuts. Honest.
    • They missed more than one thing. With a self driving car who will write the ticket? Also, who will represent the vehicle in court? In some states the law says the officer that wrote the ticket must be present to give testimony and there have been a few cases over the years that were thrown out because the officer wasn't there. Also, what happens when someone hacks the car, because you know that will happen.
  • Ford could partner with Roomba to 'clean up' blighted neighborhoods and provide security theater in more affluent neighborhoods.

    Ford could also partner with Google to provide Live up-to-the-minute Street View updates for subsequent off-line analysis for crimes and offenses.

  • ... Ford tries to raise its share price by making fatuous announcements using flavour-of-the-month automated car meme.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's not an invention if it doesn't exist! The patent office should reject it!

  • I'm picturing police cars that leave the station parking lot and drive to where they can hide. ;)

    • I'm picturing autonomous police cars pulling over autonomous cars...

    • Except Ford has run into one problem in initial virtual testing of the algorithms the cars will use. Namely that the cars seem to want to congregate around Donut shops, regardless of the quality of the "hiding places" they choose. No matter how they tweak the software inevitably within 30 minutes of departure from base every car is parked in front of a Donut shop.
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
      Prisoner transport. I can picture arresting a person and instead of throwing them in the back of a squad car, throwing them in a pod that then either drives straight back to the precinct or convoys back with the squad car to the precinct. Would help prevent cases where prisoners gain access to the driving compartment of squad cars and escape, overpower/kill the cops, etc and, with proper monitoring, cases like the guy (in Baltimore?) who got driven around so hard in a paddy wagon they basically broke his n
      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        ...prevent cases where prisoners gain access to the driving compartment of squad cars and escape, overpower/kill the cops...

        Are these cases common? My attempts at finding examples are turning up little. A couple of tragic bus incidents and a case from '89 where somebody got in the back seat with a gun.

        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

          ...prevent cases where prisoners gain access to the driving compartment of squad cars and escape, overpower/kill the cops...

          Are these cases common? My attempts at finding examples are turning up little. A couple of tragic bus incidents and a case from '89 where somebody got in the back seat with a gun.

          It's not terribly common, looks like maybe 1-2 times a year based on my Google search.

        • by hawk ( 1151 )

          >Are these cases common?

          Gosh, you must not watch enough television.

          About weekly during primetime.

          Not quite as common as jumping out the perpetually unguarded fire escape because all the cops, once again, came in the front door . . . :)

          hawk

  • If you are going to cut out the police officer from the equation, why bother making it so complicated?

    And in jurisdictions where photo radar can't be implemented because of legal restrictions, the same factors that make photo radar illegal would also outlaw automated police cars.

    • Exactly. More stupidity. But "an autonomous police cruiser seems like the logical conclusion to the development self-driving car" according to the blog. Sure.
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @10:29AM (#56006905) Homepage
    Police say it all the time. If you've done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide.

    So why do they need to hide? What are they hiding? What are they afraid of?

    Isn't the whole point of policing to increase public safety? Isn't the point of enforcing the speed limits to increase public safety? If a visible police presence is seen on a roadway, that alone will deter most drivers from speeding. The stupidest drivers who speed anyway will then get ticketed for speeding.

    Police might object that the number of tickets they write would diminish. But isn't that the whole point? If you think that ticketing is a source of revenue then you've already gone down the wrong side of a slippery slope that leads to all kinds of crooked behavior by police. Next police start to think that all sorts of crime should lead to revenue. Lesser and lesser infractions lead to assets seized until at least no crime is needed at all to justify just robbing people for no reason. And this already happens in some places. Police will stop and rob people who have done nothing wrong except for merely being out of state. Seize their money and send them on their way.

    Writing tickets is not a goal in and of itself. The goal is to get people to stop speeding. Not to raise money. If a visible police presence stops most speeders, then the job is being done on a better and larger scale than not being able to ticket every single speeder. Hiding is a sign that police ARE doing something shameful and wrong.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or it's an attempt to create an overall sense that the driver can never entirely know they are not being observed, meaning that behaviour changes in areas that aren't so obviously policed.

    • So why do they need to hide? What are they hiding? What are they afraid of?

      Isn't the whole point of policing to increase public safety? Isn't the point of enforcing the speed limits to increase public safety? If a visible police presence is seen on a roadway, that alone will deter most drivers from speeding. The stupidest drivers who speed anyway will then get ticketed for speeding.

      If officers must be visible to enforce traffic law, then you find bad drivers will only comply with traffic law when t

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        If officers must be visible to enforce traffic law, then you find bad drivers will only comply with traffic law when they can't see a cop.

        If officers prefer hiding to catch speeders, selection bias says they will prioritize roads where it's easier to hide and drivers tend to drive faster for enforcement. They will not use crash data or safety enhancement criteria.

        Cops shouldn't run speed traps based on the idea that people are driving faster and it's easier for them to hide. They should bias enforcement to areas that have bonafide data suggesting those roads have more accidents or safety problems.

        Cops end up enforcing speed laws on roads wh

        • Actually, at least according to the local community newspaper... cops here focus enforcement based on public complaints, because that's how the Police Board rolls and they tend not to keep a Chief that won't do the same.

          But that's just my experience in Southern Ontario, Canada. YMMV.

          Ideally, yes, I'd love to see the process directed by someone with an understanding of road safety and statistics rather than where cops find 'good spots' to fill their quota or where some nuisance has managed to pester the Chi

    • Police might object that the number of tickets they write would diminish. But isn't that the whole point? If you think that ticketing is a source of revenue then you've already gone down the wrong side of a slippery slope that leads to all kinds of crooked behavior by police.

      All traffic fines, parking tickets, non-compliance fines, court-imposed fines, late fees for payments to governments, and other penalties collected by the government should go into a specific fund. These are payments for crimes agains

      • Agreed. When police activity leads directly to additional revenue to the police department then we do not have a system that is "prone to corruption" we have a system that is already institutionalized corruption. As any economist can tell you - organizations respond to financial incentives. The departments actions and decisions will be largely driven by what increases revenue.

    • by atrex ( 4811433 )
      Sadly, some police offices already see crime as a source of revenue. They even have a name for it: Civil Asset Forfeiture. Get caught with an ounce of weed in your car by the wrong police department in the wrong state (even if that weed was legal in your home state and for medicinal purposes)? Good luck ever seeing your car again.
  • How will they deal with source code and calibration log requests? as if they can't give them our or the calibration has not been done in a log time that ticket get's dismissed

  • You have 30 seconds to comply!
  • Ford is building the precursor to ED-209. Will the modern car soon feature a telemetry system that sends data back to the manufacturer? which then have a back door for LEA's to monitor and automatically send you speeding tickets - or at least send the autonomous cruiser to investigate and eventually gather the evidence to ticket you?
  • IT IS A FUCKING WISHLIST

    Inventions are patentable.

    Wishlists and vague descriptions of features are not. At best, they can be prior art preventing the patenting of an actual invention some time in the future.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Well, there's this advantage:
      Patents still expire. This thing will be declared invalid if challenged, and if not challenged will expire without being renewed, and can then be used as prior art to challenge some other patent.

  • As long as the car talks with a sarcastic tone and is a Pontiac Firebird.

  • I cannot wait for the New Detroit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • First will come autonomous cars for the public.

    Then there will be no need for autonomous police cars as outlined in the patent request.

    Some simple code that detects if a driver takes over manual control of an autonomous cars and breaks any driving laws, the autonomous car simple locks the doors and drives to the closest police station.

    It all becomes self policing.

    Autonomous fire engines and police cars will be needed, but will be used to quickly navigate the streets at safe high speeds.

    Remember, o
  • So it can autonomously park behind Lil' John's cocktail lounge. Big deal. Our cops have been doing that for years.

  • Every time a science fiction writer publishes their book, they should also just fill out a couple dozen patent forms in the process. Of course the 'Epstein Drive' won't actually be invented before the sci-fi patent expires, but hey at least there will be prior art on the books... Or if you have the money I guess you could just patent anything you want right now, as long as you are sure to include the notion that some sort of included "AI" will just make it work.
  • Do we want Knight Automated Roving Robot. Because this is how we get Knight Automated Roving Robot.
  • The automation of highway robber-like behavior continues apace.

    It's bad enough much human interaction amounts to throwing money at people until they go away, the bulk of "Hell is other people", but now we have to throw money at robots until they go away, laying the takings at the feet of their masters?

  • Perhaps there is an advantage over speed camera, but it is not obvious.

    There is a huge drawback: a police car without policeman will be a nice target for vandalism

  • Ron Goulart, "Into the Shop" I read it in 1970 (or 1964?) in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but since this topic keeps coming up, I bought myself a (used) copy of his book "What's become of Screwloose? and other Inquiries", where the story was reprinted. (The book has a stamp from the Seton Catholic High School. Gotta love those Jesuits, or whatever brand of Catholic bought this.) The story should be required reading for anybody who proposes this kind of nonsense.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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