A high-tech police car is cruising the streets of Brooklyn as the NYPD tests out a prototype of a “supersmart” Fort Hybrid, which can scan license plates and digitally record everything it “sees” from its windshields.
NYPD Project Management Office Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo told the New York Daily News that the hyper-intelligent vehicle is being taken for a spin in the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO neighborhoods.
“It’s inevitable that police cars will be bringing more and more technology to the street,” del Pozo told the paper. “This car features the best technology currently available. It will be able to take information from the street and send it back to the commanders in headquarters so they can make correct, on-the-spot decisions.”
The Ford Hybrid cop car is as quick as they come for scanning license plates in search of a stolen vehicle, or testing the air for radiation. But the car’s suped-up crime fighting powers are paired with a green mission.
“Police cars in general are getting smaller as the NYPD and the city are becoming more fuel-conscious,” said del Pozo.
The car’s testing is part of an NYPD2020 strategic plan, in which the department brought on a consulting firm to suggest various possible improvements, both technological and administrative. The Wall Street Journal reported that 500 officers have already received smartphones that deliver real-time crime data, and that new guidelines have been instated for recruiting officers.
The car gathers a lot of intelligence. Data about license plates— including the owners' unpaid tickets and other infractions— are stored in the police department’s system.
"It reads any set of numbers," Del Pozo said. "If it doesn't get a hit, it gets stored. We don't look at [the results] unless an investigation points to them.”
The car may also be equipped with fingerprint scanners and facial recognition sensors.
The next police commissioner, William Bratton, will decide if the smart car, and the other initiatives, will move forward.