A driverless car is being developed that locks out troublemakers and could even detect a bomb left inside before handing itself in at a police station.
The London Evening Standard reports that Ford’s new system for autonomous vehicles could include a “sensor programmed to determine whether particular chemicals, such as chemicals used in explosive devices, are present”, according to a published patent.
But, it says, the system would more normally be used to ensure upholstery is free of vomit, or to help a person who has left their bag in a driverless taxi.
The report quotes Ford patents published by the Intellectual Property Office which also include a design to give tall or overweight passengers a more comfortable journey.
An optical sensor would size up “height, limb length or size” as they approach the car and adjust their seat and legroom automatically.
The patent says: “Users of autonomous vehicle taxi services will expect the vehicles to be clean and unoccupied upon arrival at the pick-up location. Before travelling to a pick-up location, the sensor may scan the interior, exterior and cargo areas of the host vehicle to determine whether any unauthorised passengers or objects are in the host vehicle.”
The Standard says the system could include a camera to capture images of any suspicious package and send it to the police. A car that detects a problem could “navigate to a place where the unauthorised occupant or unauthorised object can be investigated, such as a police station or other public safety facility”.