Recalling all cars: interference prompts Police refit

Refit said to affect 50 cars at up to $8,000 apiece

Police are having to refit up to 50 cars, at a cost of $8,000 each, involved in a communications trial after it was found their radios interfered with new computer systems.

Police plans to outfit its 4,500 car fleet with computers that turn the vehicles into a wi-fi access point appear to have gone awry over a simple installation problem.

Computerworld is told that the 50-car trial is undergoing an expensive refit because the original computer installation wasn’t shielded from the police car radios. The radio frequency caused the computers to spike.

It’s estimated that the cars will cost around $8,000 each to refit as part of what is thought to be a $6 million project. Exicom is undertaking the refit.

The original contract went to Ericsson two years ago because it has a secure VPN solution but IBM was asked to prime the deal because the installation was part of a broader solution. IBM is replacing the back-end system used by Police. It also managed the original installation through a third party.

Known as the Automated Vehicle Locator project, the trial aims to connect to the Intergraph CARDS emergency response system and to enable Police to know at all times where their vehicles are.

The aim was for the cars to become a wi-fi access point when individual police were equipped with PDAs.

Police didn’t respond to written questions from Computerworld.

The Police Information Commun-

ications and Technology Strategies Plan for 2002-2010 identifies the Automated Vehicle Location and GPS as one of the top 10 new initiatives for the period. Also identified is the car as a police station. The prioritisation was made after input to the strategic plan by Police user groups.

The plan says Police will implement a project to provide front-line mobile access to Police systems by equipping cars with IT systems.

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