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The era of police hiding behind bushes and catching drivers who exceed 30 miles per hour may be coming to an end. In years, maybe decades, the young officer with a quota could be replaced by a robotic cop car.
Unsympathetic to excuses and invulnerable to flirtation, the robot will flash its lights to pull you over. It will scan your driver’s license, decide whether to issue a warning or ticket, and inform you of its decision before letting you drive off.
The concept is outlined in a Ford patent filing for a self-driving cop car capable of using artificial intelligence "to find good hiding spots to catch violators of traffic laws." An optional human passenger could override settings that prevent the car from breaking traffic laws itself.
It’s unclear how far along the idea is in development, but experts and policymakers are grappling with the conceptthat was quietly filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office more than a year ago before recently attracting widespread attention after a blogger noticed it.
The idea's public airing comes as self-driving technology hits its stride, transitioning from testing to broader deployment for everyday use.