Ford has announced that it is testing a new heating software for its police vehicles that will use the vehicle’s powertrain and climate control systems to heat the inside of the vehicle to 133 degrees fahrenheit to kill the coronavirus.
The software will heat the interior for 15 minutes, which is long enough to disinfect the vehicle’s touchpoints. The software warms up the engine to an elevated level, and both heat and fan settings operate on high. The software automatically monitors interior temperatures until the entire passenger compartment hits the optimal level, then that temperature is maintained for 15 minutes.
“First responders are on the front lines protecting all of us. They are exposed to the virus and are in dire need of protective measures,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. “We looked at what’s in our arsenal and how we could step up to help. In this case, we’ve turned the vehicle’s powertrain and heat control systems into a virus neutralizer.”
Law enforcement will be able to monitor the process, since the hazard lights and taillights will flash in a pre-set pattern to notify when the process has begun, then will change at the end to signal completion. The vehicle’s instrument cluster will also have a status update. At the end a cool-down process brings the temperature down.
Large departments with their own service centers can install the software solution using their own diagnostic service tools, while other fleets can work with their local dealers to install the software for 2013-19 Police Interceptor Utility vehicles.