In a nutshell: The feature is meant to supplement existing sanitation methods, not replace them. Heat, Ford said, has the ability to penetrate crevices and other hard-to-reach areas that could get overlooked when humans manually apply chemical disinfectants.

Ford on Wednesday announced it is piloting a software solution to help law enforcement curb the spread of Covid-19 inside police interceptor utility vehicles.

When activated, the feature triggers the vehicle’s powertrain and climate control system to work together to elevate the temperature in the passenger compartment. Once the target temperature (at least 133 degrees Fahrenheit) is reached, the system maintains the temp for a period of 15 minutes.

(The "Sanitation Sketch" Ford supplied the media.)

According to Jeff Jahnes and Jesse Kwiek, laboratory supervisors at The Ohio State University department of microbiology, testing indicates that exposing Coronaviruses to temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius (132.8 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes reduces the viral concentration by more than 99 percent on interior surfaces and materials found inside police interceptors.

Ford has already conducted successful trials with vehicles owned and operated by the New York City Police Department as well as departments in Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan and Florida.

The automaker said departments can install the software solution on 2013-19 police interceptor utility vehicles in their fleets.