Ford's New Software Will Use Heat To Disinfect Police Cruisers

Ford Police Interceptor Utility

Ford has introduced a new feature for its Police Utility Vehicle that heats the interior to inactivate viruses

Ford got the idea from NY police officers who were concerned about safely and thoroughly eradicating Covid-19 from their cars, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Since Ford's technology is software based, it's now ready to de deployed in any of its Police Interceptor vehicles made between 2013 to 2019. "They are exposed to the virus and are in dire need of protective measures", Ford's chief product development and purchasing officer Hau Thai-Tang said. First the engine is allowed to heat up, then the heat and fan settings are set to high. Additionally, the instrument the cluster displays the system's progress.

The company manufactures numerous vehicles used by law enforcement in the U.S., such as the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor that became ubiquitous throughout the 90s and the first decade of the 2000s.

"This virus is an invisible enemy and we are proud to provide a solution to help the law enforcement community fight it".

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The system is not used with people inside the vehicle which sends a signal that the process is taking place via the use of hazard lights and tail-lights which flash in a predetermined pattern.

Ford worked with microbiology researchers at Ohio State University, who determined that exposing the coronavirus to temperatures of 56 degree Celsius (132.8 degrees F) for 15 minutes lowers the viral concentration by greater than 99% on interior surfaces and materials. Combining heat with normal sanitizing procedures is an effective way to get into the little cracks and crevices of a vehicle's interior that normally might not be reachable. A cool-down process brings the temperature down so there is no frying of posterior on re-entering the vehicle.

Once officers have exited the vehicle, the Police Interceptor Utility will begin to warm the engine to a specific degree.

"Law enforcement officers are being dispatched as emergency responders in some cases where ambulances may not be available", Stephen Tyler, Ford's police brand marketing manager, said in a statement.

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Police cars in New York, Los Angeles, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio and Florida were used to test the software.

The company is offering software to automatically heat up and cool down police vehicles when needed.

Ford plans to continue working on ways to bring the software to additional Ford police vehicles.

However, as this new software was made rapidly to ensure the safety of officers and those riding in their vehicles, Ford cautions that there are now no safeguards that stop the system from operating when someone or an animal are in the auto.

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Large departments can install the solution using their own diagnostic service tools, while other fleets can work with local dealers to install the software.

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