A new police car due to begin testing in the United States aims to turn a standard vehicle into a "virtual office" for emergency services personnel, according to Gizmag.com.

The new vehicle, based on the Australian-built Holden Commodore, which was re-badged as Pontiac G8s in the U.S., is being billed as the most technologically advanced police car in the world. The vehicle is jointly developed by the LAPD and the National Safety Agency out of Australia.

The car features a large single touchscreen display embedded in the passenger dash, which is linked to computer systems in the trunk. It replaces the cluttered, cockpit-style gadgets found in current police cars.

It includes several pieces of crime fighting gear, including

  • remote WAN and database access,
  • automatic number plate recognition,
  • vehicle telematics/diagnostics,
  • mobile automatic ink-free fingerprint (incorporated into a PDA) and facial recognition units,
  • officer safety cameras,
  • HAZMAT/building information.
  • night vision,
  • PIN-activated safe for heavy weaponry,
  • a power-off device that can be activated by headquarters to slow or shut the car down if someone who shouldn't gets behind the wheel, and
  • an air gun that fires a laser guided GPS tracking device onto fleeing vehicles so they can be tracked by via satellite. Officers can target the vehicle in front so that, if it attempts to take off as the officer exits their vehicle, they can fire the device using the key remote.

NSA operations director Des Bahr says the elimination of the Pontiac brand would not affect the LAPD project vehicle's presentation to law enforcement groups globally. It is believed that if a deal is struck with the LAPD though, the vehicle would most likely be badged as a Chevrolet.

Bahr said two examples of the LAPD Pontiac G8 project vehicle would be sent to the US for testing by mid-year.