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Ford Patents Driverless Police Car That Ambushes Lawbreakers Using AI (washingtonpost.com) 126

Ford has developed a patent for a police car that issues tickets without even pulling you over. The same car could also use artificial intelligence to find good hiding spots to catch traffic violators (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) and identify drivers by scanning license plates, tapping into surveillance cameras and wirelessly accessing government records. The Washington Post reports: The details may sound far-fetched, as if they belong in the science-fiction action flick "Demolition Man" or a new dystopian novel inspired by Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," but these scenarios are grounded in a potential reality. They come from a patent developed by Ford and being reviewed by the U.S. government to create autonomous police cars. Ford's patent application was published this month. Although experts claim autonomous vehicles will make driving safer and more rule-bound, Ford argues in its application that in the future, traffic violations will never disappear entirely. "While autonomous vehicles can and will be programmed to obey traffic laws, a human driver can override that programming to control and operate the vehicle at any time," the patent's application says. "When a vehicle is under the control of a human driver there is a possibility of violation of traffic laws. Thus, there will still be a need to police traffic."

The patent application says that autonomous police vehicles don't necessarily replace the need for human police officers for catching traffic scofflaws. Some "routine tasks," such as issuing tickets for failure to stop at a stop sign, can be automated, the patent says, but other tasks that can't be automated will be left to people. The application, which was filed in July 2016 and includes elaborate diagrams depicting the autonomous police car interacting with its environment, says officers could be inside the vehicle at all times and reclaim control of the car when necessary. But the application also shows how an autonomous police vehicle could be able to carry out many tasks we associate with human officers.

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Ford Patents Driverless Police Car That Ambushes Lawbreakers Using AI

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  • This is just silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:03PM (#56043325)
    we don't need cars to do this. We can just set up cameras everywhere. The UK already does this in a lot of places. This is just somebody at Ford patenting something so they can say they got a patent.
    • This is just somebody at Ford patenting something so they can say they got a patent.

      And at this rate, the patent will expire before it's able to be monetized. They should have just held on to it and waited to see if nobody has patented it in maybe 10-20 years.

    • Please tell me they're going to name it Barricade. It's like let's patent a whole bunch of things that are already commonly available... but we'll package it _in_a_car_!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      we don't need cars to do this. We can just set up cameras everywhere. The UK already does this in a lot of places.

      And yet, the UK still has lots of crime.

      So instead of spending billions on cameras (and violating the privacy of millions of people), maybe we should focus on other crime reduction strategies.

      • I can't speak for the UK, but in America a lot of our Crime reduction strategies are really just backhanded racial segregation. Our entire drug policy is. This is why black people are several times more likely to serve time for minor drug offenses and serve more time to boot. One way to keep people in their place is to have selectively enforced laws that let you target undesirables.
        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          Bah, I'd argue that it was unintentional, and it's not "segregation". Yes, the "war on drugs" has been a failure, but I believe it was well intentioned. We all know now that it's caused a ridiculous incarceration rate. But think back a few decades if you can. The vast majority of the population believed that pot was BAD, or that it was a "gateway" drug. Do you believe that we were fed this information in order to incarcerate more of the black population? Certainly, there were plenty of Caucasians doin

      • Like deporting them to a large island half way around the world perhaps?

    • They have cameras in the US also... some are for traffic violations some are just to monitor road conditions. The ones for road conditions are available to the public to view. They ones that monitor for traffic violation are usually marked and there are signs that state the road is monitored some even have signs that tell you how fast you are going when you drive past them.

      Using AI to find a good place to hide to catch traffic violations... sounds like a speed trap.

    • First they added "on the internet" to any patent. Now they are going to add "on a self driving car" to it.

  • by NeumannCons ( 798322 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:06PM (#56043347) Homepage
    Your car could spy on you... and notify the police who could then issue the ticket for speeding, distracted driving, and all manner of things. It could even supply pictures/movies of you breaking the law.

    Dystopian Big Brother future.
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:31PM (#56043521)

      Your car could spy on you... and notify the police who could then issue the ticket for speeding, distracted driving, and all manner of things. It could even supply pictures/movies of you breaking the law.

      Dystopian Big Brother future.

      That's already been tried. Back few years ago there was a car rental company who would ding their customers based on speed/time/distance data downloaded from the car's GPS. Not only were they dinging their customers, they were doing it without even notifying them.

      Here is the first link I found on Google

      http://onlineathens.com/storie... [onlineathens.com]

    • Or you know they could just simply install a speed limiter. I guess you can't profit from that then!
    • That's why the future is not Orwellian. In Orwell's future it was always possible that someone might be watching you. In our automated/AI future you can be certain that you will be monitored everywhere and round the clock.

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:10PM (#56043373)

    The article doesn't mention if they are fireproof and bulletproof. Cash register justice will provoke a violent and justifiable response.

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

      Maybe - but at least the robots won't be so scared of a black male driver that they shoot him first and ask questions later...

      • by mishehu ( 712452 )
        Did they ever fix the bug in image recognition that caused people with dark complexions to be tagged as gorillas?
    • awesome post, thanks. interesting article sam [samlevystudio.com]
  • This doesn't exist, may never exist, but by ghawd we're going to patent it so nobody else can make one if we decide not to proceed or find out that we can't do it ourselves.

    Glad to see that patents are promoting innovation and encouraging inventors.

  • auto photo tickets are like parking tickets that go to the owner but are not moving ones that go to the driver.

    • And a valid defense is "I wasn't driving the vehicle" (At least in CA).
      There are some hoops to jump through, but in the end you can get out of the ticket if the driver is unidentifiable.

      Further, I got a ticket for being stopped at the limit line, but the rain triggered the camera. That was a fun one to fight as well. Ultimately I simply had my front license plate stolen, and that resolved most issues with that intersection for me.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        And a valid defense is "I wasn't driving the vehicle" (At least in CA).

        Did you report the vehicle stolen? No.... then you're responsible.

      • by tsqr ( 808554 )

        And a valid defense is "I wasn't driving the vehicle" (At least in CA).

        California native here. About 10 years ago I sold my pickup truck and filed a waiver of liability with the DMV. Six months later I received an $80 ticket for driving the truck on the Orange County Toll Road without paying the fee. WTF? So, I called the phone number on the ticket.

        Me: Hey, I sold that truck six months ago!
        Toll Road: It's registered to you. Pay up!
        Me: No, I filed the DMV paperwork. It's not mine, and I wasn't driving it.
        Toll Road: DMV says it's yours. Pay up!

        So, I called the DMV.

        Me: Hey DMV

        • I loaned my truck to my sis.
          Red light camera popped her.

          I wasn't driving and my gender didn't match the driver.
          I was also not compelled to disclose the driver, all I had to do was show the obvious "not me".

          • I wasn't driving and my gender didn't match the driver.

            This is so un-PC that I cannot imagine the CA government allowing it to happen. It doesn't matter that your sister looks like a girl and you look like a boy, your sister can be a boy if she says she is. I mean if he says he is. And you could be a girl even though your existing /. nick says you are a boy -- things change, sometimes on a daily basis. You can no longer tell just by looking at a photograph what gender anyone is, even if you limit it to a binary decision. When you consider that you might have a

            • Obviously you are not from California. I don't think you've ever been in the state, or anywhere more then 20 miles from you're parent's basement.

              Everything you are claiming is delusional. Your assertion is rabid wingnut foaming at the mouth.

              Just to take a guess, I would say that you have a KKK tattoo rather then a swastika. You reek more of nativist ignorance then worldwide paranoia.

              If you don't know all the words just use a dictionary, or find someone who knows what they mean.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:22PM (#56043451)

    programmed to obey traffic laws = to slow for roads. Like I-294 (55 parts) I-90-IL (Toll way) I-55 parts (that new part has people pushing 75-80 all day long)

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

      I guess if enough cars are programmed to safely obey traffic laws, then the speed limits could be raised. Then again, weren't speed limits reduced for the sake of fuel efficiency? Do today's cars even operate more efficiently at 55MPH than they do at higher speeds?

  • Ford Patents Driverless Police Car That Ambushes Lawbreakers Using AI

    What about non AI using lawbreakers? Will they be safe from this police car?

    And in other news the editors around here could use some AI (or even just I) of there own.

  • by raftpeople ( 844215 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:27PM (#56043495)
    Kind of wish they would just get the Ford Explorer's transmission working before doing AI stuff
  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:28PM (#56043505)
    I've heard that Ford has patented an autonomous police car that can ambush Slashdot editors with dupes!

    https://hardware.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org]
  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:29PM (#56043513)

    Their use-case of issuing tickets for not stopping at a stop sign has already been covered by cameras and mailing out infringement notices. Same with running red lights. Same with speeding. Same with driving in bus lanes. etc...

    I can't think of a single use for a police car with no officer that already isn't done better with existing technology.

  • Some "routine tasks," such as issuing tickets for failure to stop at a stop sign, can be automated

    In the past (at least where I live) the way that robocops got fucked up, was that they issued civil citations as a means of circumventing due process. This really pissed a lot of people off, since it was so blatantly illegal. Apparently the reason they did this, was that they were sure they would lose the case if it went to criminal court. I was never quite sure why that was, something about not having even a s

  • ford will drive you federal prison after the legal in state pot shop visit.

  • by Patent Lover ( 779809 ) on Wednesday January 31, 2018 @05:46PM (#56043641)
    It's going to get interesting when driverless cop cars issue tickets to driverless cars.
    • define interesting. also isn't this a dupe?
      • I just googled it but:

        adjective
        arousing curiosity or interest; holding or catching the attention.
        "an interesting debate"
        synonyms: absorbing, engrossing, fascinating, riveting, gripping, compelling, compulsive, captivating, engaging, enthralling;

            Dunno about the dupe.

  • No one expects the Robot Inquisition!

  • No man. All machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement.

  • Courts in the US (and possibly other countries?) have already ruled that knowing the owner of a car (e.g. via license plate) is not sufficient to issue a ticket for a violation. You have to ticket the driver, not the registered owner of the vehicle.
  • As Scotty once said, "The more you overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain." I predict people will regularly hook lengths of chain to these things and the nearest tree.

  • It's happening faster than I expected. Self-driving cars are not yet mass deployed. Already it appears some of the very first of these monsters will be hunting us. Robots hunting human beings. There are some among us who welcome this new tyranny with open arms. Truly those men are enemies of mankind.

  • I think there is prior art [imdb.com] for this
  • You have 10 seconds to comply!

  • If a government boot is on my neck there's going to be a God damned person's foot in it, I'll fight a robot.
  • Cops are gonna love this. They won't have to interrupt the coffee and donuts to give out tickets!

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato

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