Ford unveil software program repair to “bake” coronavirus out of police vehicles

Ford has used a little ingenuity to create a strange new way of sterilising cop cars in the US in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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

Some departments also used rebadged Holden Caprice and Statesman models, when they were still being made.

Ford’s new sterilisation method involves a software hack that can turn up the car’s heat and “bake” the interior over a period of 15 minutes.

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The software raises the interior temperature of the car up to 56 degrees Celsius, a temperature range its confident can “help reduce the viral concentration inside the vehicle by greater than 99 per cent”.

The temperature and time range was determined in conjunction with the Ohio State University.

Since first starting work on the technology in late March, the company has tested it on vehicles used by the NYPD and LAPD among others.

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Ford said the technology is “available immediately on all 2013-19 Police Interceptor Utility vehicles in the United States, Canada and other countries around the world”.

“First responders are on the front lines protecting all of us. 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.

“We looked at what’s in our arsenal and how we could step up to help. In this case, we’ve turned the vehicle’s powertrain and heat control systems into a virus neutraliser.”

The software works by warming up the engine to an elevated level, and turning heat and fan settings up to high.

Throughout the 15-minute process its progress is monitored through a series of programmed blinking of the car’s hazard lights and on its instrument cluster, before a cool-down procedure brings the vehicle back to a comfortable temperature at the end.

Ford said the new technology would help police departments sanitise their vehicles when officers aren’t in them, but said it should be used to supplement existing sterilisation techniques rather than fully replace them.

“Officers can now use this self-cleaning mode as an extra layer of protection inside the vehicle in areas where manual cleaning is prone to be overlooked,” Ford police brand marketing manager Stephen Tyler said.

“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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