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Ford helps officers neutralize coronavirus in police vehicles

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: June 25, 2020


Excerpted from media.ford.com

Ford Motor Company is doing their part to protect law enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic. The automaker has designed a new heated software enhancement being piloted with the Police Interceptor Utility to reduce viral concentration in vehicles by over 99 percent.

This smart vehicle software is available immediately for all 2013-2019 Police Interceptor Utility models.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company has developed software to sanitize Police Interceptor Utility vehicles to help protect officers against coronavirus.

The sanitizing software temporarily raises the interior vehicle temperature over 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Ford worked with Ohio State University to determine the temperature and length of time needed to achieve a 99 percent reduction in the virus on vehicle surfaces.

“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,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer, in a press release. “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 neutralizer.”

The Ford engineering team began testing vehicle decontamination using heat in late March. Soon after, New York City Police Department alerted Ford to its need for a more efficient disinfecting process during the pandemic.

While sanitizing is in progress, hazard lights and taillights will flash in a pre-set, then change at the end to signal completion and the instrument cluster will indicate progress. A cool-down process brings the temperature down from its highest points.

This heat process can be used to regularly sanitize vehicles when occupants are not inside. During the process, the vehicle remains unlocked, in secure-idle mode, so when the officer removes the key from the ignition, the vehicle cannot be moved. The procedure can be deactivated at any time by pushing the gas or brake pedal.

Heat can seep into crevices and hard-to-reach areas and supplements recommended cleaning methods to help ensure vehicles are properly disinfected before being deployed again.

“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,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager in the release. “This virus is an invisible enemy and we are proud to provide a solution to help the law enforcement community fight it.”

Large police departments with their own service centers can install the software with their own diagnostic service tools. Other departments can work with local dealers to install the software for 2013-19 Police Interceptor Utility vehicles.

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