Ford’s newest line of police cruisers are designed to catch bad guys on both sides of the law.
Ford Telematics for Law Enforcement — designed by the automaker and California software firm Telogis — is built into the company’s latest line of law enforcement Taurus and Explorer Interceptors, and tracks when officers bend the rules of the road while policing it.
The system tracks a swath of data about the driving habits of girls and boys in blue, including when the siren and lights are activated, driving speed compared to the limit, sudden braking, acceleration, spin-outs and anti-lock brake engagement. Telematics for Law Enforcement transmits the data in real-time, and has already been outfitted on 50 Los Angeles police cruisers.
“From a business standpoint, these are expensive vehicles with expensive employees driving them,” former L.A. Country sheriff and Washington State University Professor Bryan Vila said in a Wednesday Wired report. “When they crash, they’re also more likely to kill bystanders and civilians, so there’s a public safety side. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the LAPD implementing this.”
The system also knows when officers are using their seat belts and when their airbags have deployed in a crash, alerting dispatchers to send assistance. Ford’s new features are expected to encourage safer and more responsible driving among officers, who regularly skip wearing seatbelts because it gets in the way of other gear, and can slow them down when they need to exit vehicles fast, according to the report.
Ford has yet to disclose a price for the system, which should be widely available next year.