Sounds like something out of Donald Trump’s speech, isn’t it? Not quite as this was instead revealed by Ford – that their new software for the Interceptor’s climate control can help reduce the Covid-19 virus footprint.
The method is apparently simple – bake the vehicle’s cabin until viruses inside are deactivated. Using the Interceptor’s powertrain and climate control systems, the software is capable of hiking cabin temperatures up to 56 degrees Celcius, hotter than Death Valley on its hottest day, for 15 minutes. This apparently, is long enough to help disinfect the vehicle’s touchpoints.
Once the software is activated, it warms up the engine to an elevated level, with both heat and fan settings set to high. The software automatically monitors the cabin’s temperature until the entire passenger compartment hits the optimal level, then that temperature is maintained for 15 minutes.
When the system is doing its thing, hazard lights and tail lights will flash in a certain way to notify the drivers. Once the process is complete following a cool-down session, the lights will flash differently. Progress is also indicated on the vehicle’s instrument cluster.
Flooding the passenger compartment with increased air temperature can help reach areas that may be missed by manual disinfecting procedures. Heat has the ability to seep into hard-to-reach areas, helping reduce the impact of human error in applying chemical disinfectants.
Ford has so far conducted software operational trials in vehicles owned by the New York City Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Michigan State Police, Massachusetts State Police, Boardman Township Police Department in Ohio and Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
To study its effectiveness, Ford also worked closely with the Ohio State University to determine the temperature and duration of time needed to help inactivate the COVID-19 virus.
“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 more than 99% on interior surfaces and materials used inside Police Interceptor Utility vehicles,” said Ohio State University, Laboratory Supervisors, Jeff Jahnes and Jesse Kwiek.