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Transportation Technology

Stopping Cars With Microwave Radiation 522

Posted by samzenpus
from the stops-in-under-a-minute dept.
Ponca City, We Love You writes "Researchers have created an electromagnetic system that can quickly bring a vehicle to a stop by sending out pulses of microwave radiation to disable the microprocessors that control the central engine functions in a car. A 200-pound unit attached to the roof of a police car can be used to stop fleeing and noncooperative vehicles. The average power emitted in a single shot is about 10 kilowatts at 100 hertz and since each radiated pulse lasts about 50 nanoseconds, the total energy output is 100 joules at a distance of 15 meters. One concern with the device is that it could cause an accident if a car is disabled and a driver loses steering control. The device could also disable other vehicles in the area so the most practical application may be for perimeter protection at remote areas. Criminals have a work-around too. Since electronic control modules were not built into most cars until 1972, the system will not work on automobiles made before that year."
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Stopping Cars With Microwave Radiation

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  • by cuteseal (794590) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:12PM (#21345297) Homepage
    What happens when criminals get their hands on this and start disabling police cars as well? :D
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I imagine it won't be all that big of a deal at all. I really am missing how the thing works at all. The article mentioned that it had the possibility of shutting off bystander's cars as well. What's to stop it from killing the engine to the police car, or in your hypothetical, the suspect's car? I can't see this ever coming into wide spread usage. The on-star style kill-switch mechanism is much more likely to fill this product's intended niche.
      • by evanbd (210358) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:54PM (#21345677)

        What's to stop it from killing the engine to the police car?

        Directional antennas [wikipedia.org] are not exactly new technology. They work just fine for high-power microwave transmitters.

        • when strawmen attack (Score:3, Interesting)

          by d34thm0nk3y (653414)
          What happens when criminals get their hands on this and start disabling police cars as well?

          What's to stop it from killing the engine to the police car?


          What's to stop me from changing your quote to make it easy to counter?
      • by dwater (72834)
        I guess they wouldn't aim the beam at their own car...or the cars of by-standers. ...or they could fit their own microchips with a metal jacket which shields it from this sort of thing. Of course, the bad guy could do that too, if they have foresight.

        On the other hand : "But the Eureka Aerospace system is only six to eight feet long (antennae included) and not quite three feet wide." That thing is kind huge...

        Might stop people using their cell phones while driving though.
    • Sir, you are a genius
    • No electronics to kill.
    • by nocomment (239368) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:45PM (#21345611) Homepage Journal
      or worse, the police disable a bystanders pacemaker.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jasin Natael (14968)

      I'm pretty sure the technology has been available to crafty criminals for some time now. This is an old story, as I remember reading about a homebrew project HERF gun, complete with a video of the guy stopping a car in its tracks, right here on Slashdot eight years ago [slashdot.org]. Although, the car-stopping video could be a misplaced memory that actually goes with this later story [slashdot.org]. This is the commercialization of that tech, but (and my memory may be fuzzy here) the one I remember was built with a bank of capacitor

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Joebert (946227)

      What happens when criminals get their hands on this and start disabling police cars as well? :D

      It turns into an old fashioned foot race when the '67 Camaro they're driving as a workaround runs out of gas 30 seconds later.
    • Well, given that the device is described as a 200 pound unit affixed to the roof of a car ... I suspect that the cops will be able to locate the criminal and his vehicle without the need for close pursuit of any kind. It's hard to hide when your vehicle is pimped out like Ecto-1.
    • by StarKruzr (74642) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:46AM (#21347025) Journal
      I just want to be able to take out the cop car who chases me down at speed traps.

      Cop: "HAHA I'M ON UR HIGHWAYZ CLOCKIN UR CARZ!!1 OMG FIVE MILES OVAR!!!"
      Me: "lol noob" *MICROWAVE-PWN*
      Cop: D: WTF WALLHAX
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What happens when criminals get their hands on this and start disabling police cars as well? :D

      Go back to carburetors and distributors, I guess. Modern cars are nice, but I miss being able to do my own auto tune-ups.

      Actually this theme reminds me of the old Gordon Dickson "Dorsai" novels, where countermeasures were so sophisticated that people went to "spring rifles" because they were hard to jam. I remember thinking that was a great convergence of complexity and simplicity. And I remember my father t

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:13PM (#21345309)
    Grandma was pulled over by the sheriff
    Coming home from our house Christmas eve.
    Cops say microwaves can be used safely,
    But as for me and Grandpa, we disbelieve.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by skelly33 (891182)
      Agreed - sounds like a cool way to disable pace-makers, hearing aids and the likes. I don't foresee this thing taking off not only for safety concerns, but because it just doesn't seem practical for police to outfit specialized vehicles with equipment like this. 99 out of 100 (made up statistic) police cars are run-of-the-mill cruisers/interceptors and the extra 1 is parked somewhere with no hope of being in the right place at the right time clear across town.
    • If it can nuke a car, perhaps it will nuke a pacemaker.... or explode a hearing aid in granny's head.

      Killing the CPU that controls the brakes, or randomly firing an airbag/ gearbox system, might not be clever either.

      As reported in The Register, this is all likely to be shit of the bull and more useful for military use than police use.

  • Now everybody knows the cunning terrorism attack vector I had planned. I bet they'll go and fix it now so Americans are no longer vulnerable. Here's hoping the police insist it must not be fixed for 'security reasons'.
  • Tinfoil (Score:5, Funny)

    by megaditto (982598) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:13PM (#21345313)
    Not just for hats anymore.
  • by moose5435 (761162)
    This is absolutely useless against old diesel cars. I don't need no stinkin' computers or sparkplugs.
    • by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:50AM (#21347049)

      I have an old diesel powered mid-1970s backhoe. Like any diesel engine, it does not have a distributor or spark plugs. Diesel engines use compression ignition instead of spark plugs. It has a purely mechanical type fuel injection system. When I turn the key off, the engine just keeps on running while the electrical system has been turned off. To actually turn the engine off, I need to hold down a small lever, which is hooked to the fuel injection system, for several seconds. I am not sure if the newer diesel vehicles have any microprocessors or electronics in their fuel injection systems or not. The old ones at least were purely mechanical.

      The article said that the microwave radiation system would not affect cars manufactured before 1972. Apparently, the old points and condenser type ignition systems used in gasoline engines built before 1972 are not affected.

      When flying in a small airplane back in the early 1980s, I was surprised to learn that it's engine used dual-magnetos. Magnetos had also been widely used in old antique cars, back before being replaced by distributors with points and condenser. Magnetos spun a magnet inside a coil to generated their own electricity and used a contact breaker and had ignition wires going directly to the spark plugs. I doubt that engines with magnetos could be stopped by microwave radiation pulses. Do newer airplanes still use magnetos? Do they now use microprocessors or fancy electronics somewhere in either the fuel system or ignition system? In the airplane, the key could be turned to different positions to choose to use either magneto or both magnetos at once. If the rest of the electrical system failed, the magnetos could generate their own power and keep on working.

      When I was teenager, I remember my uncle showing me an old magneto which had come from an old car. He said "hold these two wires for a moment. Don't worry its not hooked to a battery, I just want you to hold them while I spin the shaft slightly." Of course, a magneto doesn't need to be hooked to a battery, or anything else, to produce high voltage ignition pulses.

  • Faraday cage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:16PM (#21345333) Homepage Journal
    So you put a Faraday cage around the car's ECM. Problem solved?

    Also, are these rays energetic enough for, say, crowd control? And what if the cops are chasing someone with a pacemaker?
    • Re:Faraday cage (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:19PM (#21345371)
      And what if the cops are chasing someone with a pacemaker?

            Then the cops involved are suspended with pay during the official investigation, which will find that the cops could not be reasonably expected to have known that the person had a pacemaker, so they will be off the hook, AS USUAL.
      • by ookabooka (731013)
        Family of victim sue state and company. State and company owe millions, now require waver to drive in a state.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        so they will be off the hook, AS USUAL.

        And people will agree with that outcome since the person who died was "disobeying a police office", a crime so serious it certainly deserves summary execution without trial.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      At frequencies below about 400MHz, interference with equipment is caused by the cabling acting as an antenna and then carrying interference currents into the shielded box. So you need to shield all the cabling as well. Also you need to do a good job it it, effectively shielding equipment against an intentional threat at this sort of level isn't trivial.

      And no, not enough power for crowd control, but I think it would stand a good chance of messing with a pacemaker.
    • If someone lifts my car I wouldn't mind if the police disable it. Therefore there's no incentive for me to put an EMI cage around it.
    • by Rakishi (759894)

      And what if the cops are chasing someone with a pacemaker?
      Hell since this thing isn't so precise a better question is "what if a bystander with a pacemaker is hit"?
    • by westlake (615356)
      And what if the cops are chasing someone with a pacemaker?

      and the pacemaker is going to keep you alive through the stress of a high speed chase?

    • by Joebert (946227)

      And what if the cops are chasing someone with a pacemaker?

      I get the feeling people with pace makers generally try to avoid getting involved in highspeed chases.
  • War Zone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elzurawka (671029) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:17PM (#21345345)
    Seams a lot more useful in a war zone. At a roadblock in Iraq i think people would appreciate their engine getting shut off a little more the getting shot at.

    It could even be set up on a speed trap so that if you enter a road block at a certain speed it would shut off the car automatically.

    I guess once again the problem may lie in the fact that most cars in Iraq and other hot spots may not have the Electronic components needed for this. But hey if it stops something like http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4323209.stm [bbc.co.uk] then i think its worth it?
  • by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot@NOSPaM.garyolson.org> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:17PM (#21345349) Journal
    Shield the microprocessor with some left-over casserole. Microwaves never fully penetrate the the center of that mass.
    • by jambarama (784670)
      Yeah I was thinking organic shield too, but not casserole - the driver. How are the cops going to aim this thing so precisely in a high speed chase it only hits the engine block, not the suspect? Putting aside the other stuff they might hit while following a reckless driver in a high speed chase, they'll have to shoot the car from ahead, a situation (having cops ahead and behind) that makes most high speed drivers even more erratic.

      This really seems like a bad idea. If the pain is anything like the
  • Collateral Damage? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AugustZephyr (989775) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:17PM (#21345353)

    The device could also disable other vehicles in the area

    So when there is a chase in a populated area, the cops will leave a wake of disabled cars? That will be fun to clean up later...
    • by giminy (94188)
      So when there is a chase in a populated area, the cops will leave a wake of disabled cars? That will be fun to clean up later...

      Even more amusing, it sounds like this sort of device is *meant* to be used in heavily populated areas. In rural areas, there will be few roads, and ample time to set up a road block/run a tire slasher across the road, and little risk of injury to bystanders using either method. So really this little EMP gun is lose-lose: either it will be used in heavily populated areas and you'
  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:17PM (#21345355) Homepage
    Knight Industries K.I.T.T. 2000 was able to do just this. ;)
  • Steering? (Score:4, Informative)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:19PM (#21345375)

    One concern with the device is that it could cause an accident if a car is disabled and a driver loses steering control.
    Most all vehicles just use power steering to assist with steering. You can drive a car without it. Just remove your power steering belt once and go for a drive. It isn't easy, but it can be done. And the faster a perp is going, the easier it would be to control the vehicle.

    With that said, if the steering somehow could not be controlled with the PCM disabled, I smell lawsuit. This computer killer thing would also disable any other computerized device... like airbags.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nimey (114278)
      I'm pretty sure that cars exist/are planned that use "drive by wire"; that is, there are no physical connections between the driver's controls and the throttle, brakes, and steering, it's all handled by the computer.

      That'd be pretty exciting.
      • Hell every car would turn into a brick with wheels!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dun Malg (230075)

        I'm pretty sure that cars exist/are planned that use "drive by wire"; that is, there are no physical connections between the driver's controls and the throttle, brakes, and steering, it's all handled by the computer.

        "Pretty sure", eh? I bet you can't name even one. Throttle, yes. Brakes and steering, absolutely not. No engineer in his right mind would design an automobile braking system that didn't revert to pure hydraulic "foot pressure in=braking pressure out" upon loss of power. Neither would NHTSA permit such a car to be sold. Same thing with the steering.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by guruevi (827432)
      New luxury cars are being developed (some BMW and Mercedes - I don't know if they're being sold) that don't even have a direct connection between the steering wheel and the drive train. Instead, it's all computerized with some type of central bus system. This allows for much smoother/easier handling. The same is happening to gas pedals although I think emergency braking is required to have a hard link, they could take that out if they have a better replacement (brake lines leak & break after a while so
      • That might be nice and all for the first owners, but what about the guy who owns it when it's 7 years old and electronic components are starting to fail? Here's the difference between my car and said model of car:
        My car:
        PCM dies - get a new one
        ABS Computer dies - Get a new one
        Airbag controller dies - Get a new one
        Other car:
        PCM dies - get a new one
        ABS Computer dies - Get a new one
        Airbag controller dies - Get a new one
        Brake pedal dies - YOU DIE!
      • Re:Steering? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:12AM (#21346205) Homepage

        New luxury cars are being developed (some BMW and Mercedes - I don't know if they're being sold) that don't even have a direct connection between the steering wheel and the drive train. Instead, it's all computerized with some type of central bus system. This allows for much smoother/easier handling.
        So far, only BMW and Lexus have electronic steering planned, but even those are hybrid systems that maintain a direct mechanical linkage. It's not just a safety issue, but an issue of control. Whether you realize it or not, you get quite a bit of feedback about how the tires are interacting with the road through the movement of the steering wheel. Control is actually better with a direct link. This is why they do not plan to go 100% electronic.
  • Humvees (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:21PM (#21345397)
    I wonder if military vehicles have their vehicle's CPU's shielded...
  • by slntnsnty (90352) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:22PM (#21345411)
    Is a device that causes those obnoxious Bass units that shake every car for 3 blocks to implode. Now that would be a useful gadget.
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:23PM (#21345413)
    The same shunts that are used to protect home electronics will work here just fine. However, few will have the forethought to implement VDRs, beads, and other tricks to dissipate the load that this thing produces. Microwaves, of course, don't operate at 100hz, but the pulses are designed to deliver big bangs of electrons. This means that all of the components in the chase car have to be protected, too; this is also fairly inexpensive to do, but requires creating classes of chase cars with protected integral electronics-- many items of which will not be the circuits running the car, rather the notebook, 4.7ghz, and other electronics that public safety people use... radios, and so on. While the antenna for this can be highly directional, you're still looking at lots of jumping electrons to dance around devices that don't like that.

    In all: bad idea. Instead, put unique RFIDs in cars, and simply logon and turn them off. Cleaner.
  • 200 pounds (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Potent (47920)
    If you are pursing a fleeing suspect, the last thing you need is 200 pounds mounted on your roof. This would seriously affect the way the cop cruiser handles.
    • by SnoopJeDi (859765)
      I'm surprised it took this far down in the discussion for somebody to point this out.

      200 lbs is not exactly efficient, unless it's got one hell of a range.

      I guess since it's research, it can't be slated as ready for use, but even with miniaturization, this is far-off.
  • If these things aren't any more accurate than radar guns, we can expect a shockingly high rate of mistakenly stalled cars littering the route of some otherwise dull high-speed chases :)

    And then there's the guy that shapes the body of his car into a reflector - that focuses the energy into a nice tight beam right back at the head of the chump driving the pursuit vehicle. fvfvfvqkwazzappppp.... POP!
  • Diesels (Score:4, Informative)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMbarbara-hudson.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:25PM (#21345447) Journal

    I've run diesel engines with NO electric power (dead/frozen battery, broken alternator belt). As long as the fuel is gravity-fed, it'll run.

    Fat chance stopping someone who decided to take a front-end loader to make an "ATM withdrawal".

    • I've run diesel engines with NO electric power (dead/frozen battery, broken alternator belt). As long as the fuel is gravity-fed, it'll run.
      Car computers go WAY beyond the basic electrical systems of a '60 vintage car.

      Modern cars simply *will not* run without the "brain box", not to mention all the other little microprocessors.

      My '84 Volvo will not run without its "brain box". At all.

      • VW diesels up through the TDI could be run on nothing. The fuel cut off valve was just a solenoid (and I doubt this will disrupt that). Even then you could remove the solenoid and still run it, they were in production (In Canada) up through 1997.

        You don't need a terribly messy brain to run a mechanically injected diesel engine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Modern passenger car diesels use a microprocessor to control injection timing, turbo boost, etc. I would imagine they're just as vulnerable as gasoline engines.
    • I assume the engine was already started before the battery or belt failed? I seriously doubt you started that engine cold without a warmed up glowplug.
  • really? (Score:2, Informative)

    by cpotoso (606303)
    First a comment: "The average power emitted in a single shot is about 10 kilowatts at 100 hertz". What's that, a microwave at 100 Hz?? Microwaves have frequencies at the GHz range... Second: probably a trivial amount of shielding (likely already in place in the car, *if* the ECM is inside the engine compartment) would suffice to stop this since the penetration depth of a GHz signal is very very small in metals (microns of metal would block it). Seems like a nice toy, probably not very useful, possibly
  • by AP2k (991160) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:39PM (#21345551)

    One concern with the device is that it could cause an accident if a car is disabled and a driver loses steering control.
    This isnt a problem for most of the vehicles on the road today since they use primarilly hydraulically actuated power steering, but you can still steer even without hydraulic pressure. Same thing with standard rack-and-pinion and recirculating ball steering systems. For these three types, only a grandma that doesnt expect to loose hydraulic pressure will have any serious problems controlling the car.

    However, steer-by-wire systems are quickly coming into play in America, especially on some of the lower-end GM products. Now I'm no GM engineer yet, but from what I gather the steering system is either on the GMLAN high speed bus or it has its own bus but still gets data off GMLAN.

    Now suppose the ECM stops giving out speed information on the GMLAN bus. Hopefully there is a contingency plan in the steering logic so that you can still have some steering I/O even without the vehicle speed information, but if the output isnt on its own bus, I cant say I'd want to be in that car.

  • Finally, a specially designed antenna beams the microwave energy toward an opposing vehicle through a part of the car, such as the windshield, window, grill, or spacing between the hood and main body, that is not made of metal. (Metal acts as a shield against microwave energy.)


    Guess I will have to go ahead and replace that window tint, and make sure its the metallic type.

    What would make a good reflector? Preferably parabolic.

  • by compumike (454538) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:52PM (#21345653) Homepage
    I'd like to try to explain why their microwave design might work, and why the "faraday cage" argument isn't enough: Differential vs. Common-Mode Signals. It's because of all the devices connected to the car's central engine controller.

    Lots of old school communications protocols are based on single-ended signaling, where one voltage represents a 0 or 1. This includes RS232, Parallel, and even ISA and PCI slots on your motherboard. However, almost everything new that's outside the computer is based on differential signaling -- reading the differential voltage between two wires. This includes 10/100/1000BaseT ethernet over twisted pair, USB, Firewire, etc.

    Here's the key difference: when you get noise coupling onto your signal, whether it's a pulse from the engine ignition coil firing or from this car-stopping microwave device, it tends to be the case that the voltage of *both* of the differential wires is increased by the same amount -- so that when the voltages are subtracted, the effect of the noise cancels out.

    However, this exploits the fact that no devices have an infinitely large common-mode range. That is, the average voltage of the differential pair must be within some predefined limit, or your circuit won't work. By putting in a big enough pulse, this microwave device might be able to move charges around on the outside of the car body (which happens to be the ground that most devices hook to) enough to move the voltages significantly. This would cause any devices (think an oxygen sensor or a tachometer) to act as though they were momentarily dead.

    Thus, even with differential signaling (which cars already use), it's possible to break things by putting too much common-mode noise on top. See Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org].

    --
    Can you code? Want to become a hardware hacker? Educational microcontroller kits for a digital generation. [nerdkits.com]
    • Not USB (Score:3, Informative)

      by willy_me (212994)

      This includes 10/100/1000BaseT ethernet over twisted pair, USB, Firewire, etc.

      USB doesn't use differential pairs. There are 4 lines - power, ground, transmit, receive. It was designed to replace RS232 and parallel ports - they weren't going for great speeds. I'm actually quite impressed that USB 2.0 works as well as it does as it is a bad design.

      But 1394 does use differential pairs. There are either 4 or (more commonly) 6 lines. Power, ground, transmit+, transmit-, receive+, receive-. It is poss

  • by ChristTrekker (91442) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:52PM (#21345659)

    At least the Duke boys will be safe in that '69 Charger...

  • by darjen (879890) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:57PM (#21345709)
    I hear tractor beams are much more effective at stopping large mobile objects.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @11:59PM (#21345723)
    To mess them up and make go out of there set limits and I just found this to day.

    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_machine [wikipedia.org]

    Modern slot machines are controlled by EPROM computer chips and, in large casinos, coin acceptors have become obsolete in favor of bill acceptors. These machines and their bill acceptors are designed with advanced anti-cheating and anti-counterfeiting measures and are difficult to defraud. Early computerized slot machines were sometimes defrauded through the use of cheating devices, such as the "slider" or "monkey paw" used by notorious slot cheat Tommy Glenn Carmichael. However, more recent attempts at defrauding slot machines involve manipulating the EPROM, such as by directing microwaves toward it to disrupt its proper functioning.[6] Casino insiders such as Ronald Dale Harris have also been discovered manipulating the software in slot machines in order to defraud casino operators.

    REMOTE MICROWAVE JAMMER DEVICE
    http://arcadenemy.freewebsitehosting.com/microwave.html [freewebsitehosting.com]

    yotube video of it working on a us game
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMdEZezkrZ8 [youtube.com]
  • I'm sure it does wonder's for pace makers too.
  • A friend of mine had a transmitter that operated on the same frequency as police radar. It wasn't a real radar, so it was a lot smaller and easier to conceal. When driving down the road (and I went with him a couple times), he would turn the transmitter on. It was funny to see somewhere between half and two-thirds of the vehicles ahead of us hit the breaks, as seen by all the break lights suddenly coming on.

    I found that a transmitter on a certain frequency would shut off cruise control systems from many

  • 100 Hz? (Score:3, Informative)

    by fruity_pebbles (568822) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:12AM (#21345835)
    From TFA it looks like the 100 Hz number comes from the fact that it generates 100 pulses per second. The radio frequency that it operates is "tunable in the 350-1350 MHz range".

  • It seems that the 200-lb weight of the unit, the problems inherent in trying to beam a microwave signal several yards to the engine compartment from behind the vehicle, and the dangers of collateral damage, could all be eliminated in one fell swoop, by redesigning the technology, not to work from a police car rooftop, but from a "stop stick" type device, similar to the spike strips police already use to disable vehicles by taking out their tires.

    Instead of a spikes, the strip could contain the necessary app
  • by Arathon (1002016) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:28AM (#21345941) Journal
    This is why I love my car.

    Also, because the average car thief wouldn't even be able to *start* my car, much less actually drive away in it. It's hard to evade cops when the slightest mistake while sitting at a red light or going through a toll booth causes the engine to die.

    Oh, and did I mention that to restart the car while moving, you have to put the transmission halfway in between Reverse and Neutral, turn the key, then quickly shift back over into Drive in case the magical transmission gnome decides that you were closer to Reverse than Neutral?
  • My '81 (Score:5, Informative)

    by X86Daddy (446356) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:50AM (#21346095) Journal
    I have a vehicle built in 1981 and I know the electronics on it pretty well. The idle controller is the only part with ICs besides the modern stereo and car PC, and I believe it will simply idle rough without that controller functioning. My steering is rack and pinion, my auto transmission computer has nothing more advanced than a transistor; same for the door lock controller. Everything else is vaccum, steel cable, etc... So the date value for vehicles that are impervious to this attack can be set a little further forward.
  • by cheros (223479) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:01AM (#21346833)
    Yeah, right, a "taser for cars", and thus likely to be just as abused as the taser. Who cares you fry almost anything else in the vicinity such as cell phones, PDAs, car stereo, GPS or a pacemaker..

    I have no idea what offence would justify the use of this gadget. Going 1 mph over the limit? /sarcasm

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