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The Future of Highway Patrol Cars Could be Robots

By on December 2, 2012

Drone squad

Just imagine, in a decade or so, you won’t be able to flirt your way out of that traffic ticket, because the cop that just pulled you over doesn’t have a heart, literally.

This was the main aim of this year’s LA Auto Show Design Challenge: to envision the highway patrol car of the future. Several teams from BMW, General Motors, Honda, and Subaru have presented presented what they think will be policing our roads come 2025, and most, if not all, agree, that  robotic drones are the way to go.

BMW’s storyboard focused on having their drones work hand-in-hand with human officers, much like how K-9 are set up.  Their iteration features a cruise missle-like drone as well as a unicycle drone that can chase down suspects and slow them down with an electromagnetic pulse.

GM’s Volt Squad prefers and old school way of doing things, still going with driven patrol cars, but this time powered by the propulsion system of the Chevrolet Volt.

Honda’s presentation was perhaps the most ambitious of all: consisting of four-wheeled, car-like drones, or Auto-Drones that would deploy smaller, two-wheeled drones called Moto-drones. This setup provides a lot of flexibility, allowing for several functions such as rescue missions, and can be either manned or unmanned.

Finally there was Subaru. The Japanese company presented the future of patrolling the highways as well as the the coast. This was designed particularly for areas like Hawaii. Subaru’s SHARC Patrol vehicles will feature renewable energy and amphibious qualities being able to enforce the law not just on land, but on sea as well.

No word yet on how close we are to such technologies and there were no live demos as all entries were presented in a storyboard format.  Still, the idea of cost-effective, tireless and efficient law enforcement is always an idea worth visiting.  Of course, you’ll just have to bite the bullet and pay for that traffic ticket.

News Source: The New York Times
Image Credit: Honda R & D Americas

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