WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Innovations to fight the spread of Covid-19 are everywhere, and Ford’s latest innovation helps first responders on the front line safe by cooking their vehicles.
During the current Coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, companies and government around the world have found all manner of new ways to disinfect the world – from using drones that clean stadiums and streets, to autonomous vehicles and robots that clean everything from hospitals to streets and subways. They’ve also come up with new ways to identify whether or not you’re infected using glowing face masks and temperature sensing drones, as well as identifying whether it’s on the surfaces or in the air around you using new types of biosensors.
Despite all these innovations though there’s still one place where Coronavirus could be lingering – your car. But now Ford have released a new software update, available immediately, that literally bakes the inside of your car clean…
First responders are on the front lines protecting the public during the pandemic, and they’re also the most likely to be exposed to the virus so it shouldn’t be any surprise that they are in dire need of help protecting themselves from infection.
Ford’s response is a “smart vehicle software technology will help first responders reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” and the new software update will be rolled out first to its Police Interceptor Utility vehicles in Canada, the US and other countries around the world.
The new solution heats the vehicle’s interior until the viruses inside are inactivated by using the vehicles own powertrain and climate control systems to lift the temperature of the passenger compartment to over 133 degrees Fahrenheit (56 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes which is long enough to help disinfect vehicle touchpoints, according to Ford’s website.
Once activated the vehicle’s powertrain and climate control systems then work together to automatically to elevate passenger compartment temperatures. The software warms up the engine to an elevated level, and both heat and fan settings operate on high. The software then automatically monitors interior temperatures until the entire passenger compartment hits the desired temperature.
To research the methods effectiveness Ford say they worked closely with Ohio State University to determine the precise temperature and time duration needed to help inactivate the COVID-19 virus.
Law enforcement officers, who will be the first to use the technology, will also have multiple ways to monitor the disinfection process. 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 indicate progress. A cool-down process brings the temperature down from its highest points.
This heating process can be also be used as often as the officers want to help them sanitize their vehicles when they’re not inside, and when used in conjunction with sanitization guidelines approved by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flooding the passenger compartment with elevated air temperature can help reach areas that may be missed by manual disinfecting procedures. After all, just like the Coronavirus heat has the ability to seep into crevices and hard-to-reach areas, and soon you too could turn your car into a Covid free zone.