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NEWS ANALYSIS
28-Feb-2012
Police Vehicles Get Connected
 
 

Connected cars are not just for consumers. In fact, the right in-vehicle technology in the hands of the right people can actually save lives; and yes, we’re talking about first responders. Police departments, for instance, are demanding the latest and greatest in in-vehicle technologies, and why shouldn’t they? Society as a whole can benefit from first responders’ ability to access crucial realtime information when seconds count.

The City of Chicago, for instance, recently ordered 500 technology-equipped Police Interceptor vehicles from Ford, www.ford.com. The order includes both sedans and utility vehicles. The next-gen police vehicles are built to be more powerful, cost and fuel efficient, and technologically advanced.

Ford says the new Interceptors will feature 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 twin-turbocharged, direct-injection engines, delivering 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. “EcoBoost” refers to the fact the engine offers the performance of a V8-powered police cruiser with the fuel economy of a V6.

As a result of this more fuel-efficient EcoBoost engine, the carmaker expects the new vehicles to save agencies millions of dollars a year in fuel costs.

The vehicles also feature some of the latest in-vehicle connected technologies, including Ford’s BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), which uses radar sensors to detect vehicles in blind-spot zones. When a vehicle enters one of these zones, BLIS triggers a warning light in the sideview mirror.

The same radar modules can sense oncoming traffic when backing up—this system is called “cross-traffic alerts.” Other high-tech solutions include a reverse-sensing system that gives drivers an audible tone when there’s an object within six feet of the back of the vehicle.

Of course, the Interceptors will also include Ford SYNC technology, a hands-free information system that Ford says can be customized to work with police aftermarket equipment such as lights and sirens.

The SYNC in-vehicle technology system was the catalyst behind the Connected World editors’ decision to name the Ford Focus a 2012 Connected Car of the Year in the “small” category. The first annual Connected Car of the Year awards honor best-in-class vehicles that harness the power of technology to provide distraction-free, functional connectivity.

To learn more about the winners in the mid-size, luxury, and ultra-luxury categories, visit www.connectedworldmag.com/caroftheyear.aspx

To learn more about how first responders are using connected technology on the job, go to The Peggy Smedley Show archives page and search “first responders” under the Archives tab.
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