New Ford system helps warn police of approaches

| Saturday, July 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Police could soon be getting some extra backup — from their cars.

Ford Motor Co. has a new surveillance system for police cars that automatically sounds a chime, locks the doors and puts up the windows if it detects someone approaching the car from behind. The system — which Ford is patenting — is the first of its kind.

“It's like insurance. You hope you never need it. But if you do, it gives the officer a few extra seconds of warning,” says Marc Ellison, vice president of operations at Auburn, Calif.-based InterMotive Inc., which helped Ford develop it.

Backup cameras and sensors usually work only when a car is in reverse. The new system allows an officer to use them while the car is parked. An image from the backup camera is beamed onto the rearview mirror. If someone comes too close, four sensors on the rear bumper will detect them.

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