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Cruiser Smarts

NCJ Number
217205
Date Published
October 2006
Annotation
This article describes two projects sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)--one in New Hampshire and one in Texas--that are intended to make patrol-car equipment more user friendly.
Abstract
New Hampshire Project 54 began in 1999, and it deployed its first vehicle in 2001. Developed by the University of New Hampshire Consolidated Advanced Technologies Laboratory, Project 54 is a fully integrated system that works with most manufacturers equipment and can be activated via voice commands, an LCD touchscreen, a keyboard, and/or the original controls. The modular system can be easily installed, modified, and repaired at low cost. The speech technology is tolerant of accents. With voice commands, officers can run license plate checks, switch channels on radios, activated radar or mobile video equipment, and obtain certified copies of driving records. Work is underway to develop a personal digital assistant that will enable officers to perform these tasks from within 300 feet of the vehicle. The University of Houston (Texas) police department is also evaluating and testing smart car technologies. It has been evaluating a Ford Expedition and a Ford Crown Victoria equipped with TACNET technologies. Originally developed with NIJ funding, TACNET offers voice command, touchscreen, and push-button controls on a centralized control center for lights, sirens, radios, radar, video, mobile data functions, and more. A unique heads-up display provides information to officers while allowing them to keep their eyes on the road instead of looking down at a laptop. The system can receive and transmit up to five radio transmissions simultaneously and act as a crossband repeater that links up to five radios.