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Copyright 2017 Evening Standard Limited
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April 20, 2017 Thursday 9:21 AM GMT
350 words
Driverless cars 'to detect bombs and alert police'

A driverlesscar is being developed that locks out troublemakers and could even detect a bomb left inside before handing itself in at a police station.

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 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 hi-tech interior is among 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.

Large numbers of sensors are likely in all vehicles in the future and Ford also wants to measure heat, infrared, motion, force, weight and pressure. An on-board computer would constantly scan the interior, the boot, the vehicle body, under the chassis and the roof.

If a driverless car went to pick up a customer through an on-demand system, the vehicle would know there were "no unauthorised occupants or objects" inside before setting off.

The patent says: "Users of autonomous vehicle taxiservices 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."

If there were an unauthorised person inside, the vehicle would stop the passenger getting in. Doors could lock and only be released if a person identifies themselves, possibly with a Pin.

The system could also 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".
April 20, 2017
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