Dutch Police To Use Driverless Tech To Catch Thieves

Wed 21st Nov 2018

Police in the Netherlands are testing autonomous car technology systems to see if they can better prevent car crime in the country.

The futuristic scheme would see the local police force request permission for a ‘takeover’ when a car with autonomous technology is reported as stolen. The police would then connect with the stolen car and ask it to self-drive back to the police station, with the added bonus that the thief is still in the car then they will locked in the vehicle and arrested.

The idea is the brainchild of the Dutch police force’s Chief Innovation Officer, Hans Schönfeld, who speaking to tech blog, The Next Web, said: “We wanted to know if we can make them stop or drive them to certain locations. And the result is: yes, we probably can.”

“The police tested several cars; Tesla, Audi, Mercedes, and Toyota. We do this in collaboration with these car companies because this information is valuable to them, too. If we can hack into their cars, others can as well.”

Though the prospect of seeing thieves locked in cars and driven unaided back to the station is still some way off a reality, there are many more technologies which can be used to deter car crime, and also crimes committed in a car, such as speeding or reckless driving. It comes almost ten years after GM equipped many of its cars with an ignition block which could be activated remotely to turn the engine off when stolen.

Schönfeld said: “It helps us differentiate between killing someone by accident — someone speeding just a little — and manslaughter — someone driving way too fast while hitting the victim.

“Let’s say you’ve been in an accident. It’s night, it’s dark, and you’re lying in a ditch somewhere. Your car will know there’s been an accident because it monitors g-forces. It will be able to call an ambulance, communicate where the accident happened, what the car looks like, and even who was driving by measuring the driver’s weight.”