As part of a new program called NYPD2020, the New York Police Department is testing a prototype "smart car" that can do a lot more than just carting officers from one place to another. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the high-tech cruiser can record license plate numbers and addresses through infrared monitors mounted on its trunk, and has air sensors and surveillance cameras capable of sending real-time information to police headquarters.
The data scanned through infrared monitors will be checked against a crime database that contains records of vehicles that are stolen, involved in crime, or the ones that have outstanding infractions. At present, the data collected is stored for an indefinite period, "though that will likely change", according to Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo, who is in charge of the program.
The prototype car is also capable of printing reports and scanning barcodes, The Verge reported. According to del Pozo, the future cruisers might include facial recognition sensors and fingerprint scanners, though he did not explain how these technologies would be used. Although some of these technologies are already present in some squad cars, the idea behind the prototype is to test all of them in conjunction.
The smart car is one of the dozen projects (ranging from high-tech to bureaucratic) included in the program, which was prepared in November for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Though the department has been testing the prototype for about a year now from the city's 84th Precinct in Brooklyn Heights, it's up to incoming police commissioner William Bratton, who will take charge on Jan 1, 2014, how the program moves forward.
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