Ford Develops Software To Kill Coronavirus In Cop Cars

WWJ News
May 27, 2020 - 8:19 am

(WWJ) WWJ's Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert is reporting there's a proven way to kill coronavirus ... at least in police vehicles.  

As parts of the country slowly return to a new normal, a problem remains for police officers on the beat -- How can you make sure somebody hasn't contaminated your vehicle with coronavirus? The highly contagious virus felled a large swatch of the Detroit Police Department in March and April, along with first responders in New York City and other hotspots.  

Ford, the builder of many squad cars and tactical vehicles, dedicated itself to a solution. And now they've got it.

Ford engineers say it's the simple matter of allowing the vehicle's own heating system to kill COVID-19 and other bugs that can get in a police car after they've transported somebody who may have the disease. 

What's the secret? Police marketing manager Steven Tyler says a software upgrade cranks up the vehicle's inside temperature to 133 degrees for 15 minutes.

"Which is hotter than Death Valley on its hottest day," Tyler said. "It holds that temperature for fifteen minutes, which reduces the viral concentration inside the vehicle by greater than 99 percent."

Tyler says this should be done at the end of the shift, of course with the vehicle empty.    

"You're never really sure, right, if the person cleaning was ever able to get all those spots," Tyler said. "The great thing about this solution is it supplements those procedures.  It's able to penetrate where cleaning solutions don't penetrate."
​This upgrade can be added to Ford police interceptor utilities dating back to 2013 models.  

Ford said in a press release it ran successful field trials with vehicles from the New York City Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Michigan State Police, Massachusetts State Police, Boardman Township Police Department in Ohio and Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

Ford currently accounts for 63% of all police vehicle sales in the U.S.  The software updates will be made immediately available to larger departments, the company said.

Why not use similar technology in cabs, subway cars and ride sharing services? Forbes reports that "While this Ford solution is practical for police vehicles, it’s not likely to be workable for those other applications. Automated vehicles in particular will often be electric vehicles and taxis and ride hailing vehicles can’t wait 15 minutes between every passenger."