Remember from "The Dark Knight Rises," Batman used an EMP gun to stop cars? It's about to be real... (via TDKR Trailer)
Police chases are not very common, despite what we see in our media. However, when one does happen in real life it can be extremely dangerous and cause large amounts of damage to properties. Current methods for stopping a runaway driver consist of cop cars swarming around them to trap them, using spike strips to blow out their tires, or waiting until the driver pulls a bad move and takes himself out. Either of these are not the best methods for stopping someone and usually result in injuries and damage to anything unfortunate enough to get in the way.
Police in Europe are looking into looking electromagnetic technology to disable vehicles. The technology would work similar to an EMP used by the military. However, where EMPs work by frying electronic circuits, the technology being developed would work by temporarily disrupting the electronics. Currently, a European Commission- funded consortium is developing such a device as well as electronics firm E2V. In fact, E2V of the UK has recently run successful tests using their technology. It consists of using a 350 kilogram aperture antenna mounted on an SUV to beam microwaves pulses at vehicles.
Additionally, Europe has been funding another project known as SAVELEC (Safe Control of Noncooperative Vehicles Through Electromagnetic Means). This project looks to exploit vulnerabilities in microchips on car's computers. For example, one prototype in development works by constantly resetting a car's ECU making it useless. SAVLEC still has lots of work to be done with the project but they are expecting to have a working prototype by 2016.
Both of the projects will work by temporarily disabling electronics, but both will still have to face the same safety concerns. If trying to stop a speeding vehicle, they must stop it in a manner that is more safe than current means. Temporarily disabling electronics can lead to lots of different outcomes, not all of them so good. Brakes locking up, steering disabled, or both can lead to fatal accidents. Overall if this technology can work it will be great for cops. But then again, it will probably only be a matter of time before the getaway drivers have their own preventative measures.
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