NIST's AutoBid Automates Police Patrol Car Shopping

Choosing the right car can be a difficult decision even for the nation's police departments, which must weigh performance criteria such as speed vs. fuel economy.

But the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology recently developed a Java software program to make the selection process a bit easier. AutoBid is a program that "calculates compromises and trade-offs" in choosing among the 10 models of police car manufactured by four manufacturers, according to NIST.

NIST developed the program using results from the Michigan State Police vehicle tests, an annual exercise to test all police cars on the market.

The nation's police departments each year spend about $1.5 billion on 67,000 patrol cars.

AutoBid is available as a Java application or applet at www.eeel.nist.gov/oles.

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