Ford’s patent could make Robocop a reality one day.
So far, we know that Ford is using prototype self-driving cars to trial driverless taxi and pizza delivery services. Now it seems that the blue oval automaker wants autonomous police cars to patrol the streets in the future, if a patent filed by the automaker is to be believed. Yes, Robocop could become a reality one day in the form of a car. The patent, filed in the summer of 2016 which can be viewed on U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s website, details a patrol car that can operate "in lieu of or in addition to human police officers."
Of course, a patent doesn’t necessarily mean the technology will be developed, but it’s an intriguing insight into Ford’s vision of how self-driving cars could change police forces in the future. The patent describes a Ford police car that would not only be fully autonomous, but able to interact with other devices like stationary speed cameras. To help detect speedsters, the car would of course be equipped with its own cameras and equipment, and even be smart enough to find hiding places according to the patent. Furthermore, advanced AI would enable the autonomous police car to connect with the vehicle it’s pursuing to confirm a speed violation, and issue warnings or speeding tickets remotely.
Letting an AI system judge the severity of a traffic violation is a scary thought. We can’t see autonomous cars taking over the duties of human police officers just yet, especially with all the current controversy speed and traffic-light cameras generate, but it’s possible that a less advanced version of this concept could be implemented in the future with self-driving police cars that still let humans carry out their police duties. But the fact that AI technology replacing the role of police officers is even being considered at this stage is scary in itself.