What Will Police Vehicles Look Like in the Future?

auto mechanic collegeStudents pursuing auto mechanic training know that some of the most interesting cars to work on are police cars. And these are just recent models. Who knows what engineers, auto training school graduates and car companies will come up with and actually produce as police vehicles over the next ten, twenty or thirty years.

Hollywood Fantasy Police Cars

The Los Angeles Auto Show asked car companies to come up with designs for the 2025 California Highway Patrol Vehicle. Not only were they supposed to imagine the law enforcement vehicle of the future, but they were also supposed to think green.
Not surprisingly, most companies came up with ideas that look like something out of a Hollywood movie:

  • The Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle by BMW: This is exactly what it sounds like. There’s room for two people in the main compartment and detachable ground and aerial drones on either side which are controlled remotely by the driver. No word on where they put arrestees.
  • The Vold Squad by GM: This is an entirely electric powered car with three modes. Before you can say Batmobile, it morphs from four wheel observation mode to a motorcycle-like pursuit mode and can even fly!
  • The Ener-G-Force by Mercedez-Benz: Probably the most realistic of the bunch, this is a remote-controlled and propane-fueled (through tanks on the roof) version of an existing Mercedes off-road vehicle, the G Class. They even built a prototype.
  • The CHP Drone Squad by Honda (USA): More drone-based policing! Well, if drones are good enough for the US military and for Amazon deliveries, why not the police? This model has two parts: the auto-drone which can have a driver but doesn’t need one, and the moto-drone which is completely controlled by remote.


Police Vehicle Advances That Aren’t Far Off

Not all technological advances in police cars are the stuff of fantasy. Some of it’s coming our way very soon from Motorola Solutions. They’re using 4G technology to equip police vehicles with a bunch of new gadgets that will make officers’ work quite a bit easier:

  • Licence plate scanners: The car is equipped with a series of cameras that are constantly scanning license plates (at night, too, through infrared) and running them against a database of everything from stolen cars to people who haven’t paid their parking tickets. If one sets off a flag, the police officer is notified in seconds.
  • License plate recorders: The car is also sending licence plate info back to a central database which records where each plate is and when. If, for example, there’s a robbery at a restaurant just as a police car unknowingly drives by, it will be recording all the vehicles of possible suspects on the block at the time, including the getaway car parked in front of the auto mechanic college across the street.
  • Multiple camera angles: The officer can flip between external cameras covering all sides of the vehicle as well as an internal camera focused on the suspect in the backseat. All of this video is also being streamed back to headquarters over 4G in realtime.

There are other features of this system as well, such as voice activation. Here’s a news report from Australia that shows some of this in action: 

This system will be slowly phased in to police forces in North America over the next few years.
How do you see police vehicles in a decade? Also, do you think the technological advances Motorola is bringing to police cars are a good thing? Let us know in the comments.

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