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RF Safe-Stop Shuts Down Car Engines With Radio Pulse

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.

Transportation 549

An anonymous reader writes with news of a device built by a company in the U.K. which uses pulses of electromagnetic energy to disrupt the electronic systems of modern cars, causing them to shut down and cut the engine. Here's a description of how it works: "At one end of a disused runway, E2V assembled a varied collection of second-hand cars and motorbikes in order to test the prototype against a range of vehicles. In demonstrations seen by the BBC a car drove towards the device at about 15mph (24km/h). As the vehicle entered the range of the RF Safe-stop, its dashboard warning lights and dials behaved erratically, the engine stopped and the car rolled gently to a halt. Digital audio and video recording devices in the vehicle were also affected.''It's a small radar transmitter,' said Andy Wood, product manager for the machine. 'The RF [radio frequency] is pulsed from the unit just as it would be in radar, it couples into the wiring in the car and that disrupts and confuses the electronics in the car causing the engine to stall.'"

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short story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587535)

Wasn't there a short story a few years ago where everyone had one of these and it ground the world to a halt because everyone was blasting each other?

Re:short story (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#45587911)

Now...the quick thing to do...is come up with a kit and process to make your car resistant to RF pulses.

Any ideas how to best do this?

Just wait until... (2, Interesting)

Subgenius (95662) | about 5 months ago | (#45587537)

those high-powered NSA satellites can do this from orbit. No, this is NOT meant to be a troll post. I wonder if a country could actually orbit a satellite with enough power and a spot beam to stop cars in an entire city... in the name of anti-terrorism, of course.

Re:Just wait until... (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 5 months ago | (#45587613)

those high-powered NSA satellites can do this from orbit. No, this is NOT meant to be a troll post. I wonder if a country could actually orbit a satellite with enough power and a spot beam to stop cars in an entire city... in the name of anti-terrorism, of course.

Seems like a whole lot of trouble to go to, when an EMP would have exactly the same effect, and is a problem that was solved decades ago....

Even in TFS, this device doesn't target cars specifically, it zapped all of the electronics *in* the car, too.

Re:Just wait until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587693)

You realize that the only reliable way to generate an EMP is with a nuclear weapon right?

Re:Just wait until... (5, Funny)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 5 months ago | (#45587793)

You realize that the only reliable way to generate an EMP is with a nuclear weapon right?

Always with the negativity!

Re:Just wait until... (4, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#45587811)

You realize that the only reliable way to generate an EMP is with a nuclear weapon right?

You watch too many movies.

A person can back-load an old portable generator into a transformer and create an EMP that will theoretically immobilize all electronics within a 3-block radius.

For more directed attacks, you can find plans for HERF (High Energy, Radio Frequency) guns all over the internet, and build one out of a microwave oven.

Re:Just wait until... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#45587857)

A person can back-load an old portable generator into a transformer and create an EMP that will theoretically immobilize all electronics within a 3-block radius

Wait, that thing from the 'Ocean's X' movie was real?

Re:Just wait until... (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 5 months ago | (#45587827)

Nuke 'em from orbit... it's the only way to be sure....

That said, non-nuclear EMP weapons are possible, at least in theory. http://www.howstuffworks.com/e-bomb3.htm [howstuffworks.com]
A simple Google search for "non-nuclear EMP" reveals that the Internet thinks that most of the conventional nuclear-armed nations have them already, and apparently Israel thinks Syria has them, and the UN thinks that the Russians sold them to the Koreans....

Re:Just wait until... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#45587835)

Even in TFS, this device doesn't target cars specifically, it zapped all of the electronics *in* the car, too.

I think this would merely disrupt. I believe a full on EMP would actually destroy the electronics.

So, in theory at least, you don't wreck every bit of electronics you aim this thing at. Because if police start damaging people's cars for no good reason, there will be hell to pay as people get pissed off at ending up with a huge repair bill -- especially if the officer is mistaken or you're just collateral damage.

Re:Just wait until... (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | about 5 months ago | (#45587929)

You're creating a whole bunch of induced current in the circuits, there is a definite possibility that something is not going to work right after being hit by it.

Re:Just wait until... (0)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#45587649)

Great, now I have to go buy myself an old car with a carburetor. Of course, at this rate, soon it'll be illegal to use it...

Re:Just wait until... (2)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 5 months ago | (#45587799)

The problem is that some of them (like mine) have electronic ignition. The circuit uses a couple of transistors so it could be susceptible to RFI (it would most likely need a stronger signal to start misbehaving), though I guess it would be much easier to shield that than to shield the electronics in a modern car.

OTOH, cars with contact breaker ignition should be immune to this. Or old diesel cars.

Re:Just wait until... (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#45587825)

Great, now I have to go buy myself an old car with a carburetor. Of course, at this rate, soon it'll be illegal to use it...

Make sure it has a points-type ignition as well.

Would really suck to go through all that effort just to have your electronic ignition system screw you.

Re:Just wait until... (1)

jandrese (485) | about 5 months ago | (#45587937)

Or just get a Diesel. Then the only thing you have to worry about is the fuel pump crapping out.

Re:Just wait until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587687)

That would basically be an EMP [wikipedia.org], and it would probably be considered an act of war rather than anti-terrorism. Unless you are referring to using it on one of your own cities to try to stop an attack in progress, which would be even more asinine as the collateral damage could be massive.

Also, a tightly focused beam powered from terrestrial power sources is one thing, but I think you may be overestimating exactly how high-powered we are able to make satellites.

Lovely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587545)

Wonder what people with pace makers would think about this thing when it stops their pace maker. Oh sorry, we didn't intend to kill you for a small traffic violation.

Roof mounted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587563)

Can this be roof mounted toward the back of my car? Cya huge SUV following me from 5ft with xeon headlight!

Re:Roof mounted (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587817)

There was an article here on /. a few years ago about a hack by some geeks with a high powered RF generator in a van, and they trained it on some loud-stereo-playing cars behind them with excellent results. Anybody recall the details?

Pros vs Cons (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about 5 months ago | (#45587567)

This kind of thing would be ripe for abuse, but how many times have we heard/read about police chases which result in massive collateral damage and people getting killed?

I'm torn, but this seems like a really good thing for police to have. Especially if it can be directed so that it only affects the target.

Re:Pros vs Cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587615)

I guess spike strips are too complicated to use??

Re:Pros vs Cons (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 5 months ago | (#45587705)

Spike strips require the police to be able to predict where the runner is going to go, for the runner to not steer around them, and for the runner to not keep going despite a flat. They're also not exactly safe.

Re:Pros vs Cons (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#45587667)

There will be a lot of blowback from this device:

1: As mentioned above, if it fries pacemakers, insulin pumps, or heart plugs, how will wrongful death lawsuits be handled?

2: If used on a motorcycle, it can mean the rider can lose control, causing a crash, fatality, and lawsuits.

3: If used on a car, most cars are drive-by-wire. This means that brakes and steering will be made inoperable in some cars, causing an instant wreck... and subsequent lawsuits. Other cars will still have mechanical brakes and steering, but most people are used to power-assisted brakes and steering... and having their vehicle handle way differently can also cause a wreck... and lawsuit.

4: What happens if another car is hit? Radio waves can be directed in unexpected places. Yet another wreck possiblity and lawsuit.

5: Of course, the bad guys will have this technology sooner or later. Now, watch stretches of I-10 become nice kill zones for thieves who are desiring either pickup trucks for Mexican drug runs, or just to pop caps in people once their car is stopped to get soldier status in their gang.

Bad idea all around... well all but for the attorneys who will make a mint from this.

Re:Pros vs Cons (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#45587861)

1. Lawsuits will be handled by the lawyers, but they'll be pretty bored, because the EMTs will handle the people having heart attacks at a traffic stop.

2. Or the rider could just slow down to a stop like any other vehicle.

3. [citation needed]. The first drive-by-wire cars are just coming out now [wired.com], and they still have mechanical fallbacks.

4. Lawyers again, but since this is a device with push-button control (rather than a slow manual deployment like spike strips), the officer in charge can abort the operation if a situation looks dangerous.

5. Just like they do now with tacks, spikes, and opportunities every time someone runs out of gas.

Re:Pros vs Cons (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 5 months ago | (#45587949)

2. Or the rider could just slow down to a stop like any other vehicle.

Because the cops have demonstrated so well that they can resist the urge to taser people who don't need it. If this gets widely deployed, we can assume they'll start routinely popping cars with it before even turning on their lights.

Re:Pros vs Cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587881)

Motorcycles would not be impacted as much as a car. Brakes + steering are hydraulic.

Re:Pros vs Cons (4, Insightful)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 5 months ago | (#45587885)

5: Of course, the bad guys will have this technology sooner or later. Now, watch stretches of I-10 become nice kill zones for thieves who are desiring either pickup trucks for Mexican drug runs, or just to pop caps in people once their car is stopped to get soldier status in their gang.

I was thinking this too. Also, I shudder at the thought of some, say, 14 year old kids getting their hands on a cheap device that can do this and thinking it's "fun" to stop random cars while hiding behind a bush with no thought given to the consequences. I've read about kids throwing heavy and dangerous objects from heights onto unsuspecting people/cars below them. I'm sure this will appeal to the same people.

20% is OK I guess (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 5 months ago | (#45587887)

Well, number 2 shouldn't be an issue; if the engine losing power causes a wreck the driver was unsafe already. As for 3, no, brakes and steering are not, AFAIK, pure drive by wire although I'd be open to a citation otherwise. Given those, 4 is irrelevant; if an engine outage causes a person to wreck they shouldn't have been driving, and 5 is interesting and a little scary.

Re:Pros vs Cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587893)

Let's also not forget that the most basic thing the ECU controls in the car is spark. Anyone who works with cars can tell you extremely bad things start to happen if ignition happens at the wrong time. Like ruined beyond repair engines.

Re:Pros vs Cons (2)

afidel (530433) | about 5 months ago | (#45587919)

Police officers using lawful force in the course of their duties are generally immune from lawsuits, as are the departments that hire them. It's not like stop sticks, tazers, batons, teargas, flashbangs or firearms are inherently safe but we allow law enforcement to use them against suspected criminals on a daily basis.

Re:Pros vs Cons (2, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | about 5 months ago | (#45587755)

how many times have we heard/read about police chases which result in massive collateral damage and people getting killed?

Not all that many?

Re:Pros vs Cons (5, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 5 months ago | (#45587795)

Option 2 stop chasing them? The FBI's research pretty much shows that they are simply dangerous http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march-2010/evidence-based-decisions-on-police-pursuits [fbi.gov] they show that most chases are for minor offences and that the suspects will quickly return to safe driving after the chase is stopped. Pretty much car chases are cops getting an adrenaline rush at the expense of the public.

Re:Pros vs Cons (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | about 5 months ago | (#45587959)

But that means that trying to outrun the police is a viable option, since they won't chase you, probably.

No, the problem is that minor offenders turn to outrunning too easily because they're scared. That is the real problem, IMO. If you knew that everything would be okay when you just pulled over and talked with the cop, maybe get a ticket, maybe a warning if you're lucky. But IRL cops are too macho / power hungry and offenders too easily scared.

Re:Pros vs Cons (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587841)

But then you have a 2 to 5 ton vehicle with no ability to control it.

That kinetic energy doesn't just disappear and at the kind of speeds that would occasion the use of such a device, that car is probably going to slam into something: a house, bus full of orphans, kitten factory, etc. The summary says it drove toward the device at 15mph. I'd like to see what happens at 50mph, 100mph or on something like a fully loaded truck.

Additionally, and perhaps more horrifying, is that "Digital audio and video recording devices in the vehicle were also affected". As police, roll into a 'riot' with one of these going and you don't have to worry about the people involved filming you when you are standing next to someone who 'kept falling down of their own accord, honest, pinky swear'

Re:Pros vs Cons (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#45587855)

This kind of thing would be ripe for abuse, but how many times have we heard/read about police chases which result in massive collateral damage and people getting killed?

Enough times to know that the issue might be with the cowboy cops themselves, engaging suspects in high-speed chases through heavily populated metro areas.

YEEE-HAW, We's gunna git us a bad guy, no matter how many civilians have to die in the process!

Oh great, what could possibly go wrong? (4, Interesting)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about 5 months ago | (#45587579)

So there are some potentially cool applications of this - stopping a criminal in a car chase with police, for example - but it has massive potential for crime as well. Stopping cars at night, in secluded areas, to steal them and/or assault the passengers? Or causing mayhem by stopping cars on freeways, not all of which will slow at the same speed, leading to massive pile-ups.

Re:Oh great, what could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587673)

So there are some potentially cool applications of this - stopping a criminal in a car chase with police, for example - but it has massive potential for crime as well. Stopping cars at night, in secluded areas, to steal them and/or assault the passengers? Or causing mayhem by stopping cars on freeways, not all of which will slow at the same speed, leading to massive pile-ups.

Your (hydraulic-assisted) brakes will still work fine.

Re:Oh great, what could possibly go wrong? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#45587901)

So there are some potentially cool applications of this - stopping a criminal in a car chase with police, for example - but it has massive potential for crime as well. Stopping cars at night, in secluded areas, to steal them and/or assault the passengers? Or causing mayhem by stopping cars on freeways, not all of which will slow at the same speed, leading to massive pile-ups.

Your (hydraulic-assisted) brakes will still work fine.

No, your (pneumatically-assisted) hydraulic brakes will suddenly not act the way you expect them to, because the engine is no longer providing vacuum to the pump.

Try this: go down a deserted road at 30 MPH, then brake hard to a stop. Next, drive down the same deserted road at the same speed, but this time shut the engine off before trying to stop. There will be a marked difference in the pedal.

Pacemaker safe, really? (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#45587583)

Pacemakers and implanted defibrilators monitor the function of the heart by detecting voltage gradients of milivolts. This weapon can reliably knock out electronics in a car - electronics designed to operate in a very harsh EMI environment due to the presence of the nearby igntion system and contained within the metal body of the car. An enclosure that provides a bit more protection than 5mm of glass and 70cm of flesh.

So when they say this device poses no risk to those with a pacemaker, consider me a bit skeptical of that claim.

Re:Pacemaker safe, really? (3, Informative)

dbc (135354) | about 5 months ago | (#45587723)

Exactly. The FCC has rf safety guidelines that all rf emitters need to meet. Even us ham radio operators are supposed to do an assessment of their own stations. I'd like to see what kind of field strengths they are talking about and at what frequencies and distances.

Also.... having some familiarity with CAN bus and auto electronics, I'm wondering exactly how they can say that their pulse generator only applies the brakes and makes the radio wacky. Why wouldn't some random disruption cause, say, the fuel injection system to go to full throttle? Or maybe the brakes on only one side of the car go full on? Or the automatic transmission to start shifting randomly?

The validation test matrix for this kind of device is impractically huge, and the safety implications of a missed case are severe.

Re:Pacemaker safe, really? (1)

alta (1263) | about 5 months ago | (#45587779)

Bah, people with pacemakers don't steal cars! That's a young man's sport!

And yes, now I want to see this at 90MPH.

Re:Pacemaker safe, really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587733)

70cm of flesh (27.5591 inches)? How big would you have to be for a pace maker to be buried 70cm in flesh?

Safe at 15 mph? (2)

Valdrax (32670) | about 5 months ago | (#45587585)

In demonstrations seen by the BBC a car drove towards the device at about 15mph (24km/h). As the vehicle entered the range of the RF Safe-stop, its dashboard warning lights and dials behaved erratically, the engine stopped and the car rolled gently to a halt.

Let's try this demonstration again in a situation where you would actually need such a device, i.e. in a high-speed pursuit. A 15 mph demonstration means nothing for the safety of the product.

Re:Safe at 15 mph? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#45587933)

In demonstrations seen by the BBC a car drove towards the device at about 15mph (24km/h). As the vehicle entered the range of the RF Safe-stop, its dashboard warning lights and dials behaved erratically, the engine stopped and the car rolled gently to a halt.

Let's try this demonstration again in a situation where you would actually need such a device, i.e. in a high-speed pursuit. A 15 mph demonstration means nothing for the safety of the product.

It has been proven that the safest way for police to end a high-speed chase is to not engage in it to begin with.

Sometimes the risk of letting someone get away (for now) is worth the reward of not putting innocent citizens in harm's way.

sleazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587591)

The firm added that it did not believe the RF Safe-Stop posed any risk to people using a pacemaker.

They also added that old people with pacemakers are hilarious.

Won't work on a diesel with mech injector pump (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587595)

It won't work on a diesel with a mechanical injector pump. It may also clobber a cruise control system causing out of control acceleration.
This thing is a danger and would be illegal in the USA under FCC rules.

Re:Won't work on a diesel with mech injector pump (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#45587765)

This thing is a danger and would be illegal in the USA under FCC rules.

I think the point is that once it's proven, local law enforcement can lobby Congress to make it no longer illegal under FCC rules.

couple of thoughts (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#45587603)

First thought: When shielding is criminal, only criminals will have shielding.

Second thought: This would be a really cool way to deactivate police cars that might be chasing you.

Re:couple of thoughts (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 5 months ago | (#45587747)

I'm sure they would tell you that if you like your shielding, you can keep your shielding.

Re:couple of thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587845)

I'm sure Republicans will sabotage us from having any shielding at all.

SHIT (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#45587607)

I thought this car EMP tech wasn't going anywhere when I started switching one of my cars to EFI late last year. Now this shit happens :-(

How can I shield my car against this? I'm willing to add up to 20lbs to do it.

Re:SHIT (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#45587675)

How can I shield my car against this? I'm willing to add up to 20lbs to do it.

Same as everything else ... a large quantity of tinfoil, or a Faraday Cage around your car.

As an added benefit, think of all the interesting people you'll meet trying to explain why your car is plastered in tinfoil.

Re:SHIT (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#45587797)

I guess shielding all the wiring harnesses and electronics individually wouldn't work since the car's body would still pick it up and everything is grounded to it?

Re:SHIT (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#45587957)

I guess shielding all the wiring harnesses and electronics individually wouldn't work since the car's body would still pick it up and everything is grounded to it?

LOL ... I wasn't really suggesting a plausible way of shielding your car from this.

I have zero actual advice to give on the topic, I assumed the tinfoil reference was sufficient to convey that. ;-)

Re:SHIT (2)

JeanCroix (99825) | about 5 months ago | (#45587717)

How can I shield my car against this? I'm willing to add up to 20lbs to do it.

Sell it and buy an antique from the pre-electronics era. Carburetor and points ignition. Although I assume most of them will be a wee bit more than a 20lb increase over a modern car...

Re:SHIT (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#45587783)

Many would be far lighter, since the 2000s cars have been getting far heavier and larger, approaching the weight of the land yachts of the 50s and 60s. '80s and '90s Japanese compacts are very light.

Safe-Stop? Great name! (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | about 5 months ago | (#45587609)

Why is it that people name their product the very opposite of what it is? Is it supposed to serve as some sort of rebuttal? Safe for who? The guy going 60mph? Anyone around him when he loses power steering and brakes?

Re:Safe-Stop? Great name! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#45587643)

You won't lose brakes, just ABS control of them so the guy is going to need a crash course in How Brakes Actually Work real quick.

You will lose power steering though and that could be scary...and you'll lose all other electro-nannies which are ZOMG SO IMPORTANT YOU GUYS according to the Porsche Carrera thread.

Re:Safe-Stop? Great name! (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 5 months ago | (#45587713)

Why is it that people name their product the very opposite of what it is? Is it supposed to serve as some sort of rebuttal? Safe for who? The guy going 60mph? Anyone around him when he loses power steering and brakes?

It's clearly designed to bring police chases to a much more rapid end, so instead of chasing a guy at breakneck speed for miles and miles, with him maybe ending up wrapped around a tree, or crashing head on into a granny coming the other way, or a failed containment attempt resulting in him spinning out and crashing horrifically, instead the police just EMP the car and end the chase quickly.

No one said it had to be safe for the driver of the car. I assume it's called "safe stop" because the alternative is a risky high speed chase.

Re:Safe-Stop? Great name! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587813)

Why is it that people name their product the very opposite of what it is? Is it supposed to serve as some sort of rebuttal? Safe for who? The guy going 60mph? Anyone around him when he loses power steering and brakes?

Hmm nope, the engine is still being spun by the momentum of the car, so your hydraulic assist on steering AND brakes will work as expected. This thing is indeed unsafe (there is still a maniac in charge of a controllable, decelerating missile), but it is definitely LESS unsafe than the alternative, which is either a) a maniac with a fully powered, steerable missile (if you do nothing), or b) a maniac, with a fully powered, unsteerable AND unstoppable missile (which is what you get when you use stop-sticks, the current standard in "remotely" ending a pursuit).

Personal EMP cannons - it's about time (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 5 months ago | (#45587619)

A car EMP cannon has been one of those things that tech workers have talked about for years. You could use it to screw up data centers as well...or maybe the bank's power substation. How about a pacemaker?

Re:Personal EMP cannons - it's about time (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#45587671)

How about aircraft? But we all know nobody would ever do that, it would be as insane as blinding the pilot with a laser...

Re:Personal EMP cannons - it's about time (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 months ago | (#45587781)

This thing is supposed to have a short range. Maybe on takeoff or final you'd be able to screw them.

See no evil, record no evil... (4, Insightful)

AtariEric (571910) | about 5 months ago | (#45587655)

Digital audio and video recording devices in the vehicle were also affected.

So, they can shut off your camera before they beat you half to death?

Re:See no evil, record no evil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587921)

Protect your electronic gear with a faraday cage.

What could go wrong! (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#45587663)

Cars have complex systems like traction control and anti lock brakes, and cruise control. What would happen if the pulse disables the brakes but turns on the cruise control or opens the electronic throttle wide open and shuts off the brakes?

That it successfully disabled a few old dilapidated junk is no big deal. Those vehicles are just a skip, hop and a jump from junkyard and would fail more easily. A modern car well insulated against electromagnetic interference is likely to protect some systems and lose some other systems partially. This is just dangerous.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587709)

An EM pulse powerful enough to disrupt the recording equipment also disrupted the car's internal systems? Color me shocked; shocked and awed.

I'll test these with the self-driving cars (0)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#45587711)

Will be fun to see how easy it is to use a drone to shut down these "taxis for the rich".

loss of power steering/traction control at speed - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587735)

See recent celebrity crash for what happens when you loose steering control at speed. Given the size of US cars and the prevelance of power steering and traction control there is no way this is going to be a safe way to stop a car.

What was not in the article... (1)

krelvin (771644) | about 5 months ago | (#45587839)

Does this destroy the electronics ie make them no longer work until replaced?
Does this affect other things like watches, phones, pace makers and other medical equipment?

Would be an interesting oops... wrong vehicle or a innocent vehicle is in range when this is triggered.

Victim with no due process (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587849)

How much does it cost a victim of this device, having been acosted with no due process under the law, to restore the functionability to his or her electronics. I would be driving as fast as I could with another vehicle to the nearest courthouse to file suit.

just stop (1)

Werrismys (764601) | about 5 months ago | (#45587865)

No more taxes on cars and gasoline, no more restrictions, no more surveillance, no more control that isn't mine. It's my fucking car. Cars used to represent freedom, in some part.

Been there, done that, many years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587877)

There appears to be nothing at all new about this 'news'.

NEVER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587889)

It's NEVER safe to take control of a car away from a driver. I'm sure there are cases, where it can be used in place of spike strips, but let's not forget that the stearing wheel will automatically lock, if power goes out, and it happens even when the car is moving.

Let's also not forget that some people have pace makers, including other occupants in cars, and it can cost them their lives.

Let's also not forget that tazers were originally only going to be used in situations where a firearm would normally be used, but today, the tazer is the first response, and often unjustified, and it's only a matter of time until they use this type of device as a first response. Mark my words.

My vehicle (currently being heavily modified) will be immune from such a device, and it will reflect the attack, back on the attacker. They play their games, we play ours.

Airplanes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45587909)

So ... how well will it work on airplanes?

Too much power for "good" (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 5 months ago | (#45587913)

I find it creepy that law enforcement has a means to disable just about every system society needs in order to communicate, defend itself, or gtfo.

This disrupts the CAN bus. (5, Informative)

tomtefar (935007) | about 5 months ago | (#45587935)

So the RF interference takes out the CAN bus, which runs communications between the various control units in the vehicle. This is a common problem in electrical vehicles, where the high power/current lines must be routed separately from the CAN bus wires.

There are two problems with this solution

1. Older vehicles are unaffected
Old cars, especially those with carburetors, are unaffected since they don't have any data buses that can pickup the interference.

2. The CAN bus carries safety critical information.
Corrupted data packets, such as by-wire throttle position information, can cause brake failures and/or uncontrolled acceleration when the ECU/TCU bombs out due to noise on the bus. Airbags may also deploy, although that is a bit more far-fetched.

   

Just utilize existing infrastructure:Smartphones (3, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about 5 months ago | (#45587945)

A much simpler approach would be to sniff their smartphones, so you could send the driver a text that says "STOP UR CAR, LOL"
In my experience, the average driver will obey their smartphone screen more readily than local traffic laws.
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