The coronavirus has caused a number of difficulties for automakers, with plant and dealership closings leading to an unprecedented market downturn. But manufacturers are now looking for solutions to participate in this war against the Covid-19.

Ford is one of its companies. The automaker has released details of its new "heating software upgrade", an update designed for Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUVs that heats up the interior of the car at 133 degrees Fahrenheit (53 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes. A temperature and duration that, according to the company, helps reduce the concentration of viruses inside by more than 99%.

The system works by running the SUV’s engine at a higher temperature than normal, using this excess heat to heat the passenger compartment. When the system is activated, the car activates the hazard warning lights to warn that it is in operation. Once the disinfection process is complete, the frequency of the flashers changes to indicate to the occupants that they can return to the vehicle.

Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUV

Police Interceptor Utility vehicles in New York, Los Angeles, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio and Florida were used to test the software. Police forces with large fleets can install the necessary updates themselves, while smaller departments can contact Ford dealers to upgrade.

Stephen Tyler, Ford's marketing manager, said: "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."

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