A new patent granted to Ford should give us some reminders of RoboCop. This month, Ford was granted a new patent for autonomous police car (via CNET). The autonomous car can work in cooperation with a human officer or function by itself. It will be able to tell when a traffic law has been violated and act according to the situation.
These may be described as “autonomous police vehicles,” but doesn't this remind you of RoboCop? You're not alone because I too feel the same way.
The autonomous police officer can use one of the connected sensors to find out if there's a violation that occurred. In addition to detecting violations, the police offer could issue simple warnings and speeding tickets, as well as capture an image of the license plate of the vehicle. Looking at the image below, taken from the patent, shows how the autonomous police car would communicate with an offering vehicle.
Now, before you start getting riled up and worrying about RoboCop scenario, it's worth mentioning that just because Ford received this patent doesn't mean the company will pursue to actually putting the technology in action. It just shows us that Ford has been digging around the idea of autonomous police cars and leaving options open, as well as making sure no one else can develop it while it further pursues the options.
It's also worth saying that this type of technology is already being used in countries like Singapore and Dubai, so the US wouldn't be alone. It's now out of the question to see such technology roam our roads.