Ford is quite literally turning up the heat inside its vehicles to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the police officers that use them.
The motoring giant has designed a new heated software enhancement that will be incorporated into the Police Interceptor Utility vehicle and can be used by enforcement agencies across the US to help reduce the footprint of the COVID-19 virus.
Essentially, the software update allows officers to ‘bake’ the vehicle’s interior until viruses inside are inactivated. Using the power train and climate control systems, this software solution enables certain vehicles to raise its temperatures beyond 56,11°C (133°F), for 15 minutes – long enough to help disinfect vehicle touch points.
Ford worked closely with The Ohio State University to determine the temperature and time duration needed to help inactivate the COVID-19 virus.
According to Jeff Jahnes and Jesse Kwiek, laboratory supervisors at The Ohio State University department of microbiology- “Our studies with Ford Motor Company indicate that exposing coronaviruses to temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius, or 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15 minutes reduces the viral concentration by greater than 99 percent on interior surfaces and materials used inside Police Interceptor Utility vehicles,”
Law enforcement will have multiple ways to monitor progress. Hazard lights and taillights will flash when the process has begun, then will change at the end to signal completion. The vehicle’s instrument cluster will also indicate progress.
“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 power train and heat control systems into a virus neutralizer.”
New challenges require new solutions. We developed new heated sanitization software for our Police Interceptor Utility vehicles that helps inactivate viruses like #COVID19 on interior surfaces and helps keep law enforcement safe on the job. #BuiltFordProud pic.twitter.com/6ePjWn8AJk
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) May 27, 2020
Image: Twitter/ PoliceOne