Ford disinfects police cruisers by 'roasting' them

The system heats vehicles to 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.


To help keep police safe from the coronavirus, Ford is introducing a new way to disinfect police cruisers. The company has developed software that cranks the heat in its Police Interceptor Utility vehicles until the temperature inside reaches 133 degrees Fahrenheit (56 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes. Ford believes this can reduce the viral concentration by over 99 percent on interior surfaces and materials.

The software warms the engine up to an elevated level and turns the heat and fan settings to high. It monitors the interior temperature to make sure the entire passenger compartment reaches the optimal level and that the temperature is maintained for 15 minutes. Hazard and tail lights flash in a pre-set pattern while the process is taking place and then flash in another pattern when it’s complete. A cool-down process is used to bring the temperature back to a more normal level.

Ford worked with The Ohio State University to determine the temperature range and time needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The company points out that heat has the ability to seep into crevices and hard-to-reach areas that humans and chemical disinfectants may not be able to reach. Though, the process is meant to supplement other cleaning and safety measures, not replace them.

While we’ve seen a few other novel ways to disinfect everything from subways to hospital rooms, what makes Ford’s approach that much more impressive is that it’s available now. Because this is a software solution, Ford is able to roll it out to vehicles immediately. It’s available for all 2013-19 Police Interceptor Utility vehicles in the US, Canada and beyond. Ford has already tested the system with law enforcement in New York City, Los Angeles, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio and Florida.

“Officers can now use this self-cleaning mode as an extra layer of protection inside the vehicle in areas where manual cleaning is prone to be overlooked,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. “This virus is an invisible enemy and we are proud to provide a solution to help the law enforcement community fight it.”