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Electromagnetic Pulse Gun To Help In Police Chases

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the hand-your-keys-to-big-brother dept.

Transportation 471

adeelarshad82 writes "In an attempt to put an end to dangerous, high-speed police chases, scientists at Eureka Aerospace have developed an electromagnetic pulse gun called the High Power Electromagnetic System, or HPEMS. It develops a high-intensity directed pulse of electricity designed to disable a car's microprocessor system, shutting down all of its systems. Right now the prototype seen in a video fills an entire lab, but they have plans to shrink its size to hand-held proportions. Some form of this is already featured in OnStar-equipped vehicles though the electromagnetic signal used to disable the vehicle is beamed via satellite, and doesn't cripple the in-car computer, but rather puts it into a mode that allows police to easily catch and then stop the fleeing criminal."

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471 comments

help in police chases? (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865442)

You bet - I'll be able to disable cop cars chasing me.

I mean, _criminals_ will. Ahem.

Re:help in police chases? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865464)

Outlaw electromagnetic radiation and then only criminals will have EMR?

Re:help in police chases? (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865482)

Or cops!

Re:help in police chases? (5, Interesting)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865844)

Speaking as the owner of a 1983 Mercedes 300D turbo diesel, I would love to see the cop's face if they were to ever use such a thing on my car. You see, it has mechanical fuel injection and diesel doesn't rely on a spark so EMP will be useless in killing anything except my stereo. If the car is already running, you can remove the battery and have a completely dead alternator and it'll still run. I figured out a while back that in the event of a nuclear holocaust, I will be one of a handful of people with a running car... If I can get a manual transmission in it then I could even start it. Oh, and it weighs more than the cars today so the odds of running me off the road drop considerably as well...and it's built like a tank(I've been hit by 2 SUVs and have 1 spot of paint rubbed off and a dent shallower than a fingernail).

Is this the new preferred car for gangstas?

Re:help in police chases? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865954)

wow shut up.

Re:help in police chases? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865550)

Good, that'll put an end to assholes taking cell phones into the movies and on airplanes.

Re:help in police chases? (4, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865614)

Good, that'll put an end to assholes taking cell phones into the movies and on airplanes.

And assholes with pacemakers.

Re:help in police chases? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865688)

Well, it's natural selection . . . :P

Re:help in police chases? (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865708)

Unless their pacemakers are powered by nanomotors, that is!

Re:help in police chases? (5, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865788)

Good, that'll put an end to assholes taking cell phones into the movies and on airplanes.

And assholes with pacemakers.

Pacemakers are usually inserted into the chest cavity.

Re:help in police chases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865728)

Fortunately people like you will go down with the same plane, so the urge to shut down cell phones on airplanes should be a self-regulating phenomenon.

Re:help in police chases? (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865500)

Does the metal of the car body have no effect on the transmission of the signal? It seems like there would be a Faraday cage effect going on...

Speaking of which, time to build a Faraday cage around my car's microprocessor components.

Re:help in police chases? (1, Insightful)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865526)

Metal car body?

What is this, the 1960's?

Re:help in police chases? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865572)

Agreed. My car is made more from epoxy then metal.

Re:help in police chases? (4, Informative)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865882)

As far as I know, most car bodies are still metal, because there is nothing else as good for protecting occupants in a crash. Yes, most body panels of cars nowadays are fibreglass, etc... but I assure you, the firewall, base body and engine compartment is most likely still metal.

If the EMP Gun is a worry for you, you could always layer an extra grounded wire mesh around your engine to reduce it's effect, or as an old school solution, have a mechanical ignition setup for redundancy. It wouldn't give you the same performance etc... from the engine, but it's better than not having a functioning engine at that point in time.

Re:help in police chases? (5, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865622)

Kinda. Ever use a handheld cell phone in a car? Chances are you have, and that it worked fine -- the signal goes right through the windows.

Same with this concept. Sure, the car's fidgety electronic bits are wrapped securely inside of grounded aluminum boxes, gasketed and/or taped to keep out all manner of pollutants and/or RFI. But connected to these boxes are hundreds of feet of unshielded, untwisted wire, all of which will act as an antenna. Meanwhile, the car's body will tend to reflect any RF that makes it inside, so with all of the weird angles in use it's just an eventuality before some of it finds its way into a bundle of wires somewhere.

So, it's obvious and foregone that it's possible to get some amount of RF into a car's electronics.

The question is: How much does it take to make the car stop working? Since the current system apparently uses a room full of gear, I'd say the answer is "lots."

Re:help in police chases? (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865644)

One three rear mounted 4" black powder cannon, electrically fire, filled with chain, glass, dirty needles and crack vials will work nicely. You can use an Arduino to run the trunk opening and canon lift.

Front mounted? 6" X 3

Before deployment (2, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865446)

I wonder if they'll test it on Pacemakers.

Re:Before deployment (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865520)

In the lab? Perhaps. In the field? Definitely.

Perhaps the deaths will even get a pseudo diagnosis along the same lines as "excited delirium"...

"I wonder if they'll test it on Pacemakers." (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865536)

Sure, but not intentionally. They'll also "test" it on parked vehicles, tv sets, computers, iPods, traffic light controllers, and anything else that happens to get into the "beam" as the cops treat it as a precise magic car-killer that affects only cars and only the ones they aim at.

Eventually there will be an "underground" business in installing filters and shielding. It will become illegal to possess ferrite beads without a license.

Re:Before deployment (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865598)

Good point. The electrical leads used in a typical pacemaker may very well be vulnerable to such a pulse. If the EMP is powerful enough to fry the microprocessor in a car I'd bet that it is also powerful enough to at least temporarily disrupt the function of someone's pacemaker.

Re:Before deployment (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865714)

I wonder what it looks like on the display if a pacemaker crashes?

blue screen of death?

Re:Before deployment (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865908)

I wonder what it looks like on the display if a pacemaker crashes?

What kind of pacemaker has a display? Are you some sort of Teletubby or something?

Re:Before deployment (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865944)

I wonder if they'll test it on Pacemakers.

The high speed chase has the potential to get a lot of people killed.

Nothing can protect you from being in the wrong place at the wrong time - and being caught in the path of a high speed chase is about as wrong a place to be as it can get.

Dozier was accused of fleeing Newark police after officers attempted to pull him over. He led them on a pursuit to Elizabeth, where he ran a red light and smashed his Jeep into the unmarked squad car of Officer Christopher Coon.
Coon was violently thrown from the vehicle. Police on the scene initially believed he was dead.
He spent six weeks in a coma. It took a surgeon five hours to reconstruct his face with 500 stitches. The crash left Coon with brain trauma that impairs his speech, short-term memory and ability to control his right arm and leg.
Man who seriously injured Union officer in car chase crash gets 9 years in prison [nj.com]

I can't wait... (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865460)

...until the criminals get hold of this. And they will. It would be too useful not to.

I wonder if it works on helicopters also?

Re:I can't wait... (2, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865544)

Or aeroplanes! Or scopes! Or security systems! Or police vehicles! Or traffic signals! Oh the limitless fun an aspiring criminal could have!

Re:I can't wait... (2, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865554)

The criminals have had almost seven years to try: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/07/1559238 [slashdot.org]

Re:I can't wait... (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865758)

The domain that article links to is dead. Squatter site now.

Oudin coil (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865822)

build one of these [wikipedia.org]

Use a mile of copper wire for the inside windings, and several turns of flexible copper pipe for the outer ones. Not directional, but it WILL disable a lot of the nearby electronics while in operation.

Re:I can't wait... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865596)

...until the criminals get hold of this. And they will. It would be too useful not to.

I wonder if it works on helicopters also?

Maybe.
Since a lot of police helicopters are (Vietnam era) Army surplus, there isn't much in the way of electronics to kill. You'd undoubtedly be able to knock out their fancy doo-dads, but the actual helo itself is mostly mechanical and hydralic systems.

Re:I can't wait... (2, Interesting)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865638)

If you kill the helicopter's radios, that is almost as good. No radios = no communications. No communications = no flying in some types of airspace. No communications = no ability to tell ground units where you are. They might have a spotlight, unless the pulse kills that too. But if you kill communications, you seriously degrade the mission capability of a police helicopter.

Re:I can't wait... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865864)

I remember reading an article on something similiar years ago, and some guy built a prototype that fit into a normal suit case. It was basically a pulse equal to a decent FM station all powered in one direction. It was a very short, strong pulse that disabled at car from something like 50 feet

Onstar? (5, Insightful)

Yalius (1024919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865466)

How the heck is this similar to the Onstar system? This uses a directed EMP to disrupt electronic engine control, Onstar uses a built-in remote kill switch. That's like saying shooting a lightbulb is the same as turning off the switch.

Re:Onstar? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865576)

Either way it's suddenly dark!

Re:Onstar? (2, Insightful)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865594)

How the heck is this similar to the Onstar system? This uses a directed EMP to disrupt electronic engine control, Onstar uses a built-in remote kill switch. That's like saying shooting a lightbulb is the same as turning off the switch.

And you would be correct if your intent is to make the room dark. This system is like onstar in that both stop a vehicle remotely.

Re:Onstar? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865742)

This system is like onstar in that both stop a vehicle remotely.

So Onstar is like .50 BMG?

Re:Onstar? (2, Insightful)

shadow169 (203669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865792)

How the heck is this similar to the Onstar system? This uses a directed EMP to disrupt electronic engine control, Onstar uses a built-in remote kill switch. That's like saying shooting a lightbulb is the same as turning off the switch.

And you would be correct if your intent is to make the room dark. This system is like onstar in that both stop a vehicle remotely.

Except that this is Slashdot, "news for nerds", not "news for people who only want the high level concepts". I agree with the gp.

HOLY CRAP! (4, Funny)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865850)

You mean I don't have to spend 100 bucks on bulbs, ammo and spackle every month?!

Tor - Wonderland's Largest Honeypot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865480)

Though the looking glass, Alice wrote:

Dear Trusting Fools,

I invited the jabberwocky and his friends into the white rabbit's house where I'm staying and he slipped something into the sauce. It's for your own good, you know.

Love,

Alice

++

The note is slipped through the looking glass and on the other side it reads:

Dear Friends,

Goodness! I've had some troubled times here in Wonderland, but everything is resolved and it has nothing to do with the sauce, everything is fine!

Love,

Alice

PS. I have a whole new batch of sauce you really should try! We're switching to the new batch now, we urge you to switch, too, for the sake of your health! We've added new vitamins!

++

Sure, Roger, I mean Alice, we trust everything you've said in the mailing list.. did I mention how delicious this new sauce tastes? mmm, mm!

Microprocessor? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865490)

What if you drive a car without a microprocessor system?

Re:Microprocessor? (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865702)

And where are you going to get one? A museum?

Re:Microprocessor? (1)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865756)

the VTR 250 (still being made) only uses a single chip for ignition timing, replace that with an old school timing belt and the entire vehicle is mechanical.

I for one am prepared for when the robot overlords rise with their EMP guns :)

OnStar not EMP (4, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865492)

Um. The electromagnetic signal that can be sent from a satellite to an OnStar-equipped vehicle is certainly not any form of an electromagnetic pulse. It's a radio signal encoded with a command telling a microprocessor to disable power to the ignition.

Who writes this mess?

Re:OnStar not EMP (1)

Hamoohead (994058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865540)

Who writes this mess?

Um, Ted Stevens?

Re:OnStar not EMP (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865650)

Does that mean with an FM-broadcaster and a Captain crunch whistle, I can drive around town shutting down down peoples cars?

Re:OnStar not EMP (2, Interesting)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865750)

It's still dangerous, though. I'm surprised it's tolerated in a country where so many refuse to give up their guns, for fear the government will go mad with power.

Can't give up your guns, but giving up mobility is fine?

I wonder what'll happen when someone cracks it and starts broadcasting a signal to shut down all the GM cars?

I'll stick with my 20 year old Toyota. As long as I stick gas in it, it continues to pur.

Re:OnStar not EMP (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865942)

I wonder what'll happen when someone cracks it and starts broadcasting a signal to shut down all the GM cars?

Don't worry, no one will know how... unless your auto manufacturer is using Windows!

Own your car, yeah baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865862)

Who writes this mess?

Only one of the world's largest industrial corporations - DUH!!! Ermm, well they *were* one of the largest. Then their sales dropped off. Wonder why. Hurray, I can buy a car that the government can control!!! Morons.

2005 Called, they want their article back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865494)

Old news is old. I still remember when this was a new and shiny idea. Just wish I remembered where I put that onion for my belt... Hmm....

Oh, and get off my lawn!

If it's safer than hot pursuit, go for it (3, Insightful)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865496)

From realpolice.net:
In this 9 year period (1994-2002), the data showed that there were 2654 fatal crashes involving 3965 vehicles of which there were 3146 fatalities. Of these, 1088 were to people not in the fleeing vehicle.

If frying someone's car results in a better outcome than the above, I'm all for it.

Sounds like a great replacement for caltrops.

Interesting choice of wording (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865498)

They say that they can disable the car's electronic systems - but what they really mean is DESTROY those systems. Any vehicle targeted by this technology will require thousands of dollars in repairs before it can be driven again.

That might prevent the technology from widespread use - it would be a field day for attorneys as police destroyed people's cars (and other property) while they were chasing a criminal. I'm sure that the vendor also says they can target one car specifically while they disable it - but it's not going to work that way in the real world. Their EMP pulse will spread as a spherical field and any electronics within range will get fried.

Re:Interesting choice of wording (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865616)

EM radius *can* be aimed, you know. Like, say, a flashlight. Or a directional antenna. This isn't an EM spectrum from a nuclear airburst. It's directed radiation, probably in the microwave spectrum (the goal is to use frequencies at which circuit traces, or even better, conductive paths within ICs become antennas, causing current to flow in unintended ways)

Re:Interesting choice of wording (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865744)

EM radius *can* be aimed, you know. Like, say, a flashlight. Or a directional antenna.

I can see it now... the chase begins. Officer McNalley, who's three days away from retirement, bellows to his young partner Turk Bannon "Hold the car steady! I'm gonna try to slow them down using the giant EM flashlight!" He leans out the window, aiming the eight-foot device at the suspect's car. Just at that moment, though, a young mother pushing a stroller steps into a crosswalk - right in front of the police car. Bannon jerks the wheel, hard to the left, and McNalley is thrown out the window. He hits the ground and rolls - badly bruised, but alive. But when the EM flashlight strikes the ground, it bursts apart - and one of the shards kills McNalley.

Bannon, standing over his partner's body, swears revenge against the evil corporation that ignored all safety and environmental regulations while pushing this poorly-built device through an offshore manufacturing plant. After a couple minutes of innuendo-filled dialogue between Bannon and the young mother, his quest for vengeance begins...

Re:Interesting choice of wording (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865838)

> EM radius *can* be aimed, you know. Like, say, a flashlight. Or a
> directional antenna.

A directional antenna of dimensions several times the wavelength of the lowest frequency component of the pulse. As EMP contains substantial energy at wavelengths of many meters your "flashlight" will have be the size of a house to produce anything resembling a beam.

Re:Interesting choice of wording (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865672)

- it would be a field day for attorneys as police destroyed people's cars (and other property) while they were chasing a criminal.

The standard answer used by many municipalities (and accepted by many courts) is that they are not liable. There won't be a field day -- it'll be something covered by insurance, and sucks to be you if you don't have any.

Probably won't kill anything (1)

mbessey (304651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865720)

Automotive electronics are fairly tough, because of the noisy environment they operate in. I would bet that in the typical case, the voltage pulse just confuses the computer, and/or latches a few inputs, causing it to shut down. You could likely start it right back up afterward.

Re:Probably won't kill anything (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865794)

> Automotive electronics are fairly tough, because of the noisy environment
> they operate in.

And the importance of reliability and fail-safe operation.

> I would bet that in the typical case, the voltage pulse just confuses the
> computer, and/or latches a few inputs, causing it to shut down.

No, causing the computer to "reboot" itself. The engine might miss a couple of times, but that's all. They'll have to do permanent damage to reliably stop cars.

Questions (1)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865506)

I have to wonder a few things after seeing that video:

What happens when a person going 70mph suddenly loses control of their vehicle?
How accurate can that sort of gun be? Over what sort of angle and distance is it will effective?
Is there a way to shield the car with a faraday cage to prevent this sort of thing from happening? And if not, wouldn't this just mess up the police cars? What's going to stop the police (or **AA) from "accidentally" frying your computer with one of these?

This is certainly cool technology that I'd love to get my hands on.. but more info would be nice...

Re:Questions (4, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865634)

> What happens when a person going 70mph suddenly loses control of their
> vehicle?

The run into somebody and kill them. Just like they do when being chased at high speed.

> How accurate can that sort of gun be?

It cannot be accurate at all, but the cops will become convinced that it is laser-like.

> Over what sort of angle and distance is it will effective?

The field will be blob-shaped, with slightly more range forward than back. It will only wreck cars at a fairly short range but will destroy unshielded electronic equipment (cellphones, 'Pods, laptops...) at a much greater range.

> Is there a way to shield the car with a faraday cage to prevent this sort
> of thing from happening? And if not, wouldn't this just mess up the police
> cars?

A bit of filtering and shielding will suffice, and the cop cars will get it. So will the vehicles of some criminals.

Re:Questions (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865816)

Time to start a business selling tinfoil hats for use on cars ^^

Re:Questions (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865848)

Same thing that happens now if your engine quits suddenly at 70mph, you slow don fairly quickly while at the same time lose power sterring. However if your going 70mph your going in a mostly straight line anyways. Unless your dumb enough to go 70 down city streets. worst case is you crash going a lot slower than70 mph.

Distance unknown however it will probably be like a spot light in it's target area a spot probably about 10 meters wide at most.

nope, only if it hits them too, we shall find out.

Answers (1)

mbessey (304651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865886)

What happens when a person going 70mph suddenly loses control of their vehicle?

They won't "lose control", exactly. It'll just get a lot harder to steer, and the car will slow down rapidly

How accurate can that sort of gun be? Over what sort of angle and distance is it will effective?

Not terribly accurate. The spread of the beam is determined by the antenna geometry and the frequency of the radiation. The range, of course, is subject to the power level. With a big antenna, and enough power, you could disable a car from miles away. Practically speaking, it'll probably need to be effective from 100 yards or so in order to be useful. I expect that the effective width of the "beam" would be several lanes wide at that range.

Is there a way to shield the car with a faraday cage to prevent this sort of thing from happening?

Not really. I mean, you *could do so*, but it'd be hard to make the car 100% shielded. It's probably 90% covered already, actually.

And if not, wouldn't this just mess up the police cars?

Well, the bulk of the radiation pattern will go forward, obviously. The backward-facing component can be made arbitrarily small.

What's going to stop the police (or **AA) from "accidentally" frying your computer with one of these?

Probable cause? The police can't just destroy property because they feel like it. Unless you're currently engaged in a crime, they wouldn't have a reason to try to kill your computer.

Uh-oh... (5, Interesting)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865512)

I'm not sure I like the sound of this. Consider the lesson of the taser. Now that the cops have a weapon that doesn't kill or maim, they've gotten increasingly slap-happy about using it. Cops were at least cautious about using firearms, least they have to defend themselves against using deadly force. But they're happy to pull out the taser at the drop of a hat.

This may sound like a good idea, but I suspect the cops will be using this a lot more liberally than intended.

Re:Uh-oh... (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865836)

Doubt it. Destroying somebody's property without just cause invites a 1983 suit.

Does make a good point though. The legislature should make it so that the device used must have built-in data collection that details when (and maybe where) the device was employed. That way, there be some splaining to do if the device gets discharged without a report detailing the incident that caused the discharge.

Re:Uh-oh... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865896)

Of course it will. I would rather have the cops use a taser on someone than say beat the crap out of someone with wooden batons to get a drunk to listen to reason and stop driving.

If the problems with cars electronics is only temporary(pull battery cable off, let system rest, put battery cable on and go) I would rather have cops using this than say following a drunk doing 90 down a street cause the guy can't read the difference on his speed gauge.

Indeed Police really need a shoot first weapon to diffuse stupid people and still be able to ask them questions later with no real trauma(Taser really isn't it). will it be abused. Yep but we can make laws to limit police abuse, we can't make laws that stupid people won't break anyways.

Re:Uh-oh... (1, Offtopic)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865910)

Is the problem the Taser, or the fact that it's considered "safe" then? I'd certainly rather be tasered than shot. And I'm glad cops user tasers instead of shooting. And I'm not sure it's "at the drop of a hat."

And frankly, I get tired of the anti-cop sentiment. Sure, we hear all the bad stories and there have been abuses and they should be dealt with. To me, those stories are roughly equivalent to, oh, senators abusing their power/position. To reflect the actions of the ones that abuse it on all cops is, IMO, very childish.

I know actually quite a few cops, they are very good people. One in particular, I know, risks his life very frequently during night raids and the like. Another one I know was in a very extended undercover thing... complete with growing a beard, changing his name, and everything. I hate it when they, who are "cops" and who actually write *gasp* speeding tickets for people who *gasp* were breaking the speed limit, get a bad rap because of the ACTUALLY bad people that end up being cops and abuse their power. I think abusing that power is sick and it should be treated very justly... which it doesn't appear it generally is. On the other hand, cop-killings don't seem to be treated very justly, either. Or most violent crimes, IMO. "Temporary insanity" and all that.

It's "excessive" force not "deadly" force. Deadly force is fine, when not excessive.

Sorry for the irritable tone. I'm a nice guy, really. :) hehe.

Re:Uh-oh... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865912)

It's way worse than the taser. The proper equivalent would be for the cops to have a "directed" gas weapon that'd knock down everyone in the area of effect, causing injuries when they fall. Tasers are problematic, but this would be beyond ridiculous. They could kill dozens of cars in a chase! Just imagine if the weapon is fired near a critical location like an hospital or a power plant...

Loss of potential acronymic irony (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865528)

If only they called it the:

High ElectroMagnetic Power System

the headlines could read:

"Cops Use HEMPS to Catch Criminals"

Hemp - is there anything it _can't_ do?

In an attempt to... (1)

tocs (866673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865530)

"In an attempt to put an end to dangerous police high speed chases," might also read: In an attempt to make lots of money...

I'm assuming any serious criminal (1)

Undernet-hobbit (1727698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865538)

Would build a faraday cage around the sensitive electronics in a vehicle once a device like this comes to fruition for the authorities... I guess it's good for your ho-hum car-jacker though

Re:I'm assuming any serious criminal (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865694)

> Would build a faraday cage around the sensitive electronics

Shielding and filtering should suffice.

> I guess it's good for your ho-hum car-jacker though

Of course, the jacked car will suffer $5,000 damage...

Real life is not like the movies (2, Insightful)

mbessey (304651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865920)

Your average high-speed chase participant is not a criminal mastermind. They're somebody who got caught doing something stupid, and panicked.

This is an anti-robot weapon, not anti-car (4, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865548)

Using it on a car sounds really REALLY stupid.

1. It will kill the car, not merely create a carefully programmed disabling like the Onstar system. Most likely this leads to a car crash and quite likely require complete replacement of all electronics.

2. As others stated, pacemakers, watches, cellphones, laptops, etc. will also be affected.

3. This will get into the hands of criminals. I am quite frankly they don't already have it. Here are some of the things I think people might use it on:

ATM's If there is a 1 in 100 chance of it malfunctioning and spitting out the money, then ATM's will be hit 100 times.

Toll machines - obvious

Red lights (and the cameras aimed at them).

cop cars

Re:This is an anti-robot weapon, not anti-car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865790)

I can see a scenario of criminals using this:

Take a stretch of I-10 or a highway. The van or whatever carries the gear gets set up. Someone drives past in a decent car, *pop*, car gets stalled, the people in the car get jacked, shot and tossed in a ditch, the car gets stripped and remnants pushed somewhere not seen from the highway and the criminals wait for the next victim.

What I'm even more worried about is when (not if) criminals are able to forge kill signals from OnStar. This would allow the criminals to knock out vehicles on a remote highway, cap the occupants, restart the engine, and have a perfectly useful stolen car without any threat to them.

Re:This is an anti-robot weapon, not anti-car (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865958)

Nah, the kill signal is an example of too much effort. If you are good enough to crack the OnStar system, you are good enough to crack a bank. Trust me, I've worked at banks, their software is not particularly strong. Cracking the bank will offer much much more bang for your buck than risking picking a car whose owner belongs to the NRA.

Re:This is an anti-robot weapon, not anti-car (5, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865856)

Nevermind the fact that this has "massive liability" (i.e. instant class action lawsuits) written all over it; especially for the manufacturer of the device (Eureka Aerospace). The car might as well be sent to the crusher after being hit with this device because it will effectively be a complete loss with damaged or destroyed electronics. No doubt the insurance companies, who will be forced to "total out" stolen vehicles hit with this device, will have a thing or two to say as well.

Re:This is an anti-robot weapon, not anti-car (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865940)

If they don't crash (or other damage), they can simply replace the electronics. It should be no more than a couple grand, not a total out. But I do agree about liability.

Reality catching up to past TV shows (1)

ArcticBirdman (957505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865568)

This is interesting in that a TV show from 1994 used a Dodge Viper equipped with such a device to stop vehicles the 'Good' guy was chasing. They were also able to morph the car. I can see that coming soon as well.

Viper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865578)

No one mentioning Viper, where this was used? Come on, Slashdot!

try it on my '81 diesel VW (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865582)

Since I have a car w/o any electronics, I'm fine. Not that a diesel Rabbit is really going to outrun a cop car anyway.

What a great tool for robbery! (5, Insightful)

gti_guy (875684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865586)

A focused EMP beam from a gun? What a great way to destroy video cameras & alarm systems! It sure would make robbery a LOT easier.

Pacemakers? (1)

northernboy (661897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865592)

Did anybody stop to consider the possibility of collateral damage? Aside from beloved portable electronics, what about a hostage with a pacemaker? We don't want to disable that device do we? And to penetrate the body of the car (which side of the engine block are these microprocessors located on, anyway?) they're probably generating a pretty significant pulse.

What about residences or businesses down range??

..and speaking of OnStar: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865608)

This is the #1 reason why you should NOT ever had OnStar in your car. Ever. Not even for free. You do NOT need any 3rd party being able to disable your car, let alone be able to monitor where you are and the conversations going on inside your car. If you have OnStar, stop paying for it, find all the antennas associated with the system and cut the leads, preferably shorting them out in the process.

Re:..and speaking of OnStar: (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865712)

Why not just route them all to a switch, so you can still use it when you want to? Or, simpler: Find the brick the antennas plug into, and switch the 12V lines going to it.

I'm a privacy nut, myself, at times. When my boss installed tracking software on my company-owned phone, I bought a nice vinyl-covered Faraday cage for it made out of conductive fabric to use in those times when he needn't know where I'm at.

Yanking antennas and destroying electronics seems far-fetched and brutal. It's easier to keep the OnStar system for what it is useful for, and provide oneself a method to turn it off when it's not needed.

Re:..and speaking of OnStar: (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865842)

Why didn't you just leave the phone on your desk at work or were you a travelling salesman?

Re:..and speaking of OnStar: (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865956)

Why didn't you just turn the phone off?

Sounds great, until... (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865652)

Just wait until it's used in a high population density area, and everybody within three blocks who has a pacemaker keels over. And how many bystanders do you think are going to want their watches, cellphones, laptops, etc., replaced by the cops? Free upgrades for all!

Re:Sounds great, until... (3, Interesting)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865722)

how many bystanders do you think are going to want their watches, cellphones, laptops, etc., replaced by the cops?

Good luck with that ... and when it happens, I bid you welcome to the infamous blue wall of silence [wikipedia.org] . After NYPD cops illegally confiscated and damaged a camcorder of mine, it took nearly six months for them to acknowledge that the incident even took place! Despite having excellent video evidence, from other videographers.

"designed to disable a cars microprocessor system" (1)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865654)

One more reason to never let go of my supercharged '68 Oldsmobile 442 getaw^H^H^H^H^H ride... no integrated circuits. Except the sound system, of course - which, to keep up the stereotype, plays only 8-track tapes, preferably from the mid-Jurrasic rock period.

C'mon coppers, let's see your puny little raygun take on some Detroit Iron!

So What Happens... (1)

Ken McE (599217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865706)

The first time an officer fires this at a suspect vehicle, and hits the Cadillac dealership right in back of the suspect???

Movie Plot Threat (1)

BoydWaters (257352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865746)

Terrorists stage a high-profile robbery to incite a police chase, which leads to the use of one of these EMP things, aimed at Mae West. Th' InterTubes go dark, civilization collapses.

Muscle car market boom (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865748)

Suddenly there's a big market for pre-electronic-ignition muscle cars.

extortion (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865780)

Let me inspect your computer without a warrant or this EMP gun might just accidentally discharge in an inconvenient direction.

More importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865784)

Will it work on my neighbor's stereo?

Nothing like a portable holocost. (1, Insightful)

CrepitousCurmudgeon (1572327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865804)

Are these guys nuts or con men? They want to design a portable device to generate a directional EMP to help police stop fleeing cars. Point and click, off goes the suspect's car computer and the thing rolls to a stop. Whee! Sounds great, doesn't it? But physics and legal liabilities will stop them from getting this out of the lab. First, EMPs are not directional. So the first time a cop uses it, off goes his car and every car around him along with every bit of electronics in the cars. And every bit of electronics in the homes nearby and the stores and the hospitals, etc. Permanently. Thousands, maybe millions of dollars of damage and potentially many deaths. Let's not forget the folks with pacemakers, hearing aids or insulin pumps, either. The power required to make an EMP strong enough to disable a car isn't trivial either. It takes some huge high voltage capacitors or nasty explosives to manage the job. Los Alamos Labs can do this, but it's very expensive for each EMP produced. The car computers are pretty well shielded and located in protected areas in the car. So the EMP will have to be much stronger than what's needed to damage the computer. Almost all of the EMP will be reflected. Reflected only God knows where. Jerks.

Re:Nothing like a portable holocost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865932)

Plus all effected cars will loose power steering and most likely power brakes.

Eureka (1)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865812)

The bigger news is that the town of Eureka is real. I always thought it was fictional.

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30865818)

I do believe this is a dupe. I seem to recall a article about this device from months and months ago. Someone who cares more can dig for it if they want to, I won't bother seeing as the search capability here on slashdot blows.

unsafe in the extreme. (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865854)

I'm all for giving police more tools to use against crooks, however there is a glaring fault with this proposal - disabling the car also means loss of control. so if you have a police chase and the cops use this thing, suddenly the only thing driving the car is it's own momentum which makes it more dangerous then the criminal driving it since he atleast still wants to live, and so will try avoid on comming traffic.

this is even worse then road spikes since taking out the tyres atleast slows the vehicle down a lot. this thing could only be used after the cops have blocked off traffic and there's no chance of the car running into anything.

Secondary effect on criminals (1)

horza (87255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30865902)

If it fails to stop the car at least it may knock out the onboard GPS. Then after they get lost and run out of petrol the police can just pick them up.

Phillip.

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