GM Prepares to Arm Law Enforcement With “Unfair Advantage”

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Looking at a pink sunset from the driver seat of a KITT equipped vehicle

While composing an in-depth look at the 2019 Chevy Equinox, I found myself amazed at just how far the pioneering crossover has come in the last decade-and-a-half. While I often criticize the segment for using a kitchen-sink mentality, I couldn’t help but be floored by the available technologies that make the Equinox (and its ilk) so compelling to the car buyers of today. And in this regard, Chevy stands confidently over the majority of their competitors.

As we inch towards 2019 our expectations regarding the inclusion of technology as standard equipment in our vehicles continues to expand. Only a few years ago we were content (if not amazed) with the inclusion of a touchscreen interface and/or a backup camera…but no more. No longer content to accept a traditional sound system, the absence of navigation or lack of driver assistive features, we as consumers are compelling automakers to create ever-more innovative, value-added offerings with each model year. Considering our insistence on wishing ourselves into the future it’s really no surprise that the testing of self-driving vehicles are already creeping onto our roadways each day. But as we find ourselves tagging alongside this uber-competitive sprint towards autonomous technologies, it’s important to keep abreast on the developments that may forever change how we go about getting from Point A to Point B. Why? Because the cars of tomorrow are likely to be as much ‘Silicon Valley’ as they are ‘Detroit Steel’. And judging by some of Chevy’s pending upgrades, it appears that third-party funding is creating a whole new breed of vehicles.

For example, 2019 will introduce a mid-year variant of the Equinox which beefs up the available trim levels. Joining the (base) L, LS, LT and Premiere will be the tech-centric KITT. Featuring advanced AI voice-recognition interface, Level 3 driver-assistive features, heads-up display and advanced suspension technology, Chevy expects the Equinox KITT to usher in a new era of intuitive automobiles to build upon the ‘joy of driving’.

But if you’re thinking of snatching one up for yourself, don’t get too excited. According to industry insiders these vehicles are being designed for use by (local, state and federal) law enforcement. The intention is to empower law enforcement with upgradable vehicles that will remain a step-ahead of civilian vehicles, no matter what features those vehicles might possess. And that goal is being made possible by GM’s partnership with tech giant, Knight Industries and the privately-funded Foundation for Law and Government.

According to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, “The Equinox KITT represents a paradigm shift in law enforcement technologies. Smarter. Faster. More Durable. Through its anamorphic and etymotic equalizer, the vehicle is equipped with an array of sensory tools that can sense everything from heat signatures to cell-phone transmissions. A molecular bonded shell protects both the vehicle and its inhabitants from projectiles and through a process calls ‘Pyroclastic Lamination’ the vehicle’s body is protected by a thermal-resistant coating that can resist temperatures of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. There is even a turbo-boost feature which, we estimate, can propel the vehicle to speeds up to 200 mph. It’s a very exciting time.”

But not everyone shares the sense of excitement. A union of various Civil Rights and Anti-authoritarian groups are calling such technology an “unfair advantage, especially as we tread dangerously toward a police state.”

But GM asserts that such statements represent “a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of ideas that do not exist. The KITT is designed to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.”

GM’s celebrity spokesperson for the offering, former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, calls the Equinox KITT “oddly familiar”.

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