The Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group in Linthicum has joined in the battle against burglars, car thieves and muggers.
As part of its diversification away from defense contracting, the company introduced yesterday an electronic system for police cars that it said marks "a major step forward in the fight against crime."
The police car of the future, according to Westinghouse, can be equipped with a mobile communications system able to receive information from a variety of sources.
"It will have features like satellite-based vehicle location, electronic access to criminal and other data banks, a video link xTC central dispatch facilities, officer identification and monitoring and, eventually, head-up displays [which would appear on the windshield] and even voice recognition capabilities," said Bill Hudson, manager of Westinghouse's Law Enforcement Systems Department.
Most of the features are being demonstrated on a prototype vehicle touring eight Southwestern cities and police trade shows, he said.
"We can answer a lot of important questions for officers in the field," Mr. Hudson said.
On a screen, the police dispatcher can see the exact location of a police car or be alerted if the officer draws a weapon or issues a distress signal. The dispatcher can even activate a video link to the police car so that he can view the situation.
Karl Holub, a Westinghouse program manager, said the basic system will sell for less than $10,000 per vehicle. That compares with a cost of between $5,000 and $7,000 for systems currently used in police vehicles, he said.