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The End Of The High Speed Chases?

The Los Angeles Police Department and the military have commissioned a prototype for a device which disables a moving vehicle. The system is written up in this BBC article:

According to its inventor, Dr David Giri, at the flick of a switch, the zapper directs a beam of intensely concentrated radio waves at the target car and makes it stall, safely bringing it to a halt.

The system works, says Dr David Giri, because it turns the very technology which has revolutionised motoring over the past decade against the driver.

Computer chips are now used in most cars to control the fuel injection and engine firing systems. By knocking these out the car cannot be driven.

Dr Giri, a physics professor at the University of California in Berkeley set up a company called ProTech to develop the radio wave vehicle-stopping system for the US marine corps and the Los Angeles police department.

What will the LA stations do for daytime programing if this gadget catches on?

Engadget links to an NPR interview with the inventor.


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Comments (5)

The idea of a High Energy R... (Below threshold)
spd rdr:

The idea of a High Energy Radio Frequency (HERF)gun isreally not that new. The problem has been to get the device small enough to make in practical. I remember reading about it maybe ten years ago in the rather chilling context of terrorism. The scenario had the terrorist perched atop a building in lower Manhattan with the HERF gun trained on the stock exchange. One blast and the all the computers go kef-phlooie. Instant financial meltdown. Of course, we found out later that these monsters perfer the blood of innocents. Still, this weapon has incredible potential in the wrong hands. I hope we know what we're doing here.

Can you imagine how boring ... (Below threshold)

Can you imagine how boring movies like Lethal Weapon will be if this becomes mainstream? We have to stop this development now, for the sake of all the Danny Glovers out there...

This is where the use of cl... (Below threshold)

This is where the use of classic muscle cars comes in. No computers, no electronics.

Just like firing any weapon... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Just like firing any weapon, the user needs to ensure that only the intended target is affected, and that can be difficult with RF. Not only will the target vehicle be disabled, but every similarly computer-dependent vehicle between the "zapper" and the target, as well as many beyond the target.

And how about any buildings that are in the target path? How many computers, and other devices with various chips and processors, will be turned into paperweights once the trigger is pulled?

Personally, I don't see this as being useful any time soon.

I have a better idea---SNIP... (Below threshold)
BoDiddly:

I have a better idea---SNIPERS!

Someone who flees from the cops at a high rate of speed, or uses reckless driving maneuvers to evade arrest is putting everyone on the highway at just as great a risk as is a man wielding a shotgun in a shopping mall. Take a few of these idiots out within the first couple of miles of pursuit via helicopter-stationed snipers, and you'll see a drastic reduction in pursuits. Quit putting innocent bystanders at risk in the name of "safely" apprehending some idiot.




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