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Tagging Devices To Aid In Car Chases

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the car-57-where-are-you dept.

Hardware 394

kthejoker writes "ABC News is reporting that a company called StarChase has invented a device that will allow police teams to 'tag' cars involved in dangerous chases. The device is the size of a golf ball, can be launched via an air-powered shooter attached to police vehicles, and uses a "highly efficient" glue to stick to cars. From there, it transmits its GPS position to a central monitoring station."

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Wicked Idea (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645465)

Its like the spiderman toys we all used to throw at windows and doors.
Am I the only one who could never get them to stick to friends backs?

Re:Wicked Idea (1, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645516)

I don't see why they don't fashion some sort of electrical disruption device, like those trident things out of "2 Fast, 2 Furious" that the cops just shot into a car. Not only were they effective (unless the drive manages to somehow lean out of the window far enough to reach the back of the car and prize the 2 foot spear out of the bodywork while travelling at 100mph), but they look cool too.

Re:Wicked Idea (2, Funny)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645654)

I don't see why they don't fashion some sort of electrical disruption device, like those trident things out of "2 Fast, 2 Furious" that the cops just shot into a car. Not only were they effective (unless the drive manages to somehow lean out of the window far enough to reach the back of the car and prize the 2 foot spear out of the bodywork while travelling at 100mph), but they look cool too.

If the car is driving at a high speed and all electronics stop functioning, the car becomes uncontrollable and a crash will be unavoidable, which almost certainly means someone will die.

Spear Not Such A Wicked Idea (2, Interesting)

Somegeek (624100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645660)

The potential for someone getting hurt with an electrical disruption device (especially a 2 foot spear!) is much higher. This is passive so it doesn't involve any risk to those in the fleeing vehicle. If someone is driving at 100mph it might actually be more dangerous to just shut their vehicle off and have them lose control at that speed. Plus, it wouldn't have any affect on pre-computer vehicles, (ok so not a lot of those speeding around....)

Ok... (-1, Troll)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645468)

Why can't they just keep up with the car to begin with?

I mean, it's a cool idea and all, but chance are the cost makes it very impractical. Besides, why should the police get all the fun toys?

Re:Ok... (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645475)

Keeping up with a car in a highly visible chase scenario might be the most dangerous way to handle a criminal with a deadly weapon.
Better to let them think he has outstarted the police and hopefully back off a little bit.
High tensions and a rush hour road or pedestrian town centre don't generally mix.

Re:Ok... (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645531)

Keeping up with a car in a highly visible chase scenario might be the most dangerous way to handle a criminal with a deadly weapon.
Depends what you're chasing them with. Another car, maybe yes. A helicopter, no.

Re:Ok... (2, Insightful)

c0007031 (919859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645562)

I also think that if this weapon starts to be used a lot, the fugitives will also escape into dense cities, undergroung parkings, etc because they know GPS devices cease to function there. Anyone has an idea of how the data of the device is transmited back to the police... maybe that is another thing to work around...

Re:Ok... (1)

Somegeek (624100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645681)

A little dart is going to be a LOT cheaper than a helicopter. Even the LAPD only has a limited number of copters.

Re:Ok... (3, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645550)

The best is still a chopper with night vision, so when the perp leaves the car they can be followed. After all, the value is in getting the criminal.

Liability (5, Insightful)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645478)

If the police pursue a criminal in a high speed chase and someone else gets hurt as a result of it, the police have a good chance of being sued. The tagger would help tremendously in this department, as it encourages the person being pursued to ditch the car at some point instead of flying around the roads like a maniac.

Re:Liability (1, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645545)

If the police pursue a criminal in a high speed chase and someone else gets hurt as a result of it, the police have a good chance of being sued.
Wouldn't it made more sense to sue the fleeing criminal? It's their actions that would have caused the bystanders injuries.

Re:Liability (1)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645686)

You're talking about how it should be, while I'm talking about how it is. I totally believe the blame should fall on the the criminal, but think about it from a purely selfish, financial standpoint - who would you rather sue, the two bit criminal with no money to his name, or a department of the city that has money to burn? From that standpoint, it's a no brainer.

Re:Liability (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645585)

Great, let's encourage them to ditch the tagged car, and steal/carjack another to continue their escape.

Re:Liability (1)

i_am_not_a_bomba (904443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645596)

"If the police pursue a criminal in a high speed chase and someone else gets hurt as a result of it, the police have a good chance of being sued"

Why not concentrate on the fact that someone innocent has been hurt or killed? Isn't that enough? Is the only way to create the appearance of value in the minds of people to attach an economic value? Is it only useful if it can reduce the potential for litigation? WTF is wrong with western society right now?

Offtopic, there is plenty of times that the cops just need to back off a little and risk losing the joyrider, speeder, etc but ensure the safety of those around, when they push on irregardless (often fueled by testosterone) and an innocent person dies then it's perfectly reasonable for the cops to be held accountable *as any normal person would be if their direct actions resulted in killing or maiming someone, even if well intentioned*. And before the twits come, yes, as with anything there are exceptions blah blah blah.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645482)

"Why can't they just keep up with the car to begin with?"

Ask that to the realtives of people who are killed every year due to stupid fucking cops living out their Dukes of Hazzard fantasies on city streets.

Re:Ok... (3, Insightful)

ScottyLad (44798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645490)

> "Why can't they just keep up with the car to begin with?"

As mentioned above, high speed pursuits are extremely dangerous,and usually the police will want to back off if they are in a built-up area and they can track the perpetrator via other methods without aggravating them further.

>"but chance are the cost makes it very impractical."

As opposed to, say, smashing a patrol car or two, before slamming in to some unfortunate motorist who just happens to be crossing an intersection, America's Greatest Police Chases stylee?

"Besides, why should the police get all the fun toys?"

Because they're funded by the taxpayer to use all available resources in the fight against crime - so they have a budget for technoloy like this if it's going to prove cost effective (for example in reducing pursuit collisions).

Re:Ok... (2, Informative)

Orangejesus (898961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645570)

in a lot of cities there are ordinances that the cops can't chase motorists under various conditions, like over 20mph over the speed limit. It's pretty common actually, the idea being that in high speed chases even more people get injured.

Costs? (3, Insightful)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645577)

You are joking right?

This is basically cheap ass battery and GPS unit that is so over produced today they are cheaper than peanuts. By Peanuts I mean slightly premium quality ones, that may costs 30$ a unit.

And glue, well, that isn't exactly expensive, add on some air based cannon, not very expensive at all.

Of course, the whole process of development is expensive, so you should be glad when such development that your taxes goes into comes out with something that can reduce get aways, dangerous chases and crime.

First Mod (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645471)


Does Parker own the patent? (3, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645474)

Shouldn't Peter Parker own the patent to this device? If so, I wondow what the police will be paying in licensing fees.

Theo Van Gogh, Paris Riots, cartoon furor... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645659)

Anyone still think Muslims are reasonable? All this over a fucking cartoon. Fucking barbarians... http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060205/D8FIK3M81 .html [myway.com]

But the media keeps telling us Islam means peace (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645685)

Ahhh, Islam never fails to show its true face. Remember, these are the same guys who make their wives cover themselves completely and walk behind them in public, and think that you can stop a woman from committing adultery by surgically removing her clitoris. Barbarians indeed.

useful in a practical sense too (4, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645479)

it could well help avoid fatalities in road chases, the police can then hang back and not push too hard on the person they are chasing, this should help take some of the tension out and reduce the risk of the criminals trying something stupid and killing people, police helicopters can then be called in to keep track and the people in the car can be arrested when it stops (or if the tyres are blown out in a safe place)

Why Only Police? (3, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645480)

Make these available to everyone. When you see someone being an idiot or asshole driver, not just the aggravating ones, but the really stupid ones you pull this out, and tag them. After about 3-4 "tags" the cops can pull them over and give them a "asshole" ticket. Even better would be if these tags had a memory in them that recorded the time and GPS coordinates of the event you tagged them for. Maybe even allow selection of event types such as speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, blocking traffic, too slow, etc. But I guess this would be handing over the cops job to the citizens and you know we are not law enforcement trained so we wouldn't know a violation, and a lot of innocent people would be getting "harrassed"for something the didn't do ;)

Re:Why Only Police? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645488)

see earlier "First Mod" post for LA civilian traffic use

Re:Why Only Police? (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645494)

That's a pretty good idea, like a driving moderation system kinda like /.

One hit wouldn't mean anything, but two or more should get the attention of the cops.

Hmmm ... heck, just a website were people could complain and enter a license plate would be good enough. If the site sees the same plate several times, they should intervene. Mind you, the complaint needs to be verified to reduce potential abuse.

Re:Why Only Police? (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645495)

Lets run through your scenario.
Your driving down the motorway/freeway minding your own business, driving carefully at around the speedlimit and some speed freak comes tearing past and undertakes you.

You take out your Tag rifle and aim it at the car in front.

Lean out of the window and take aim, but whilst you are doing this you swerve and take out 3 cyclists also minding their own business.

Re:Why Only Police? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645568)

That's a hell of a big swerve...why would cyclists be on the motorway? :P

Re:Why Only Police? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645503)

Ten seconds after such a thing gets into the hands of the public it'll be stuck either to someone's forehead or a dog's butt.

Re:Why Only Police? (5, Insightful)

VIPERsssss (907375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645515)

That would never work. You'd have too many people tagging that "asshole because he's richer than me" porche driver and the "holier-than-thou" prius driver and the "gas guzzling enviro-hater" SUV driver just because they don't like a particular $STEREOTYPE. I'd probably be safe in my $500 sable, though.

Re:Why Only Police? (3, Funny)

70Bang (805280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645674)

if originality == 0
Gallagher brought this up years ago as a way to save money with the cops. They'd only have to watch traffic driving around and if someone had|has enough of a quota of "a%%holle" markers, pull them over & write a ticket under the premise "if they're driving [1] that many people mad, there's something wrong with them.

[1] paronomasia intended.

This article is a year old! (4, Interesting)

sotweed (118223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645481)

Surely there should be some real experience to report by now, rather than just a press release from the manufacturer...

Why unglue when smashing will work? (4, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645483)

Regardless of whether fleeing drivers realize they have been tagged, it's unlikely that individuals could unglue the dart.

Delicate electronics don't tend to survive being hit with a hammer. You don't have to get it off the car, all you have to do is disable it. I'd be curious to see how smash proof this thing is.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (2, Interesting)

Troed (102527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645491)

I'm much more interested in if the police help owners of erroneously tagged cars remove the "super glued" device again, without leaving any marks whatsoever on the paint job.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (3, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645499)

If the criminals have to stop to smash it from their rear bumper then surely its job is done.

I see win-win with this device in most scenarios.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (2, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645541)

If the criminals have to stop to smash it from their rear bumper then surely its job is done.

I see win-win with this device in most scenarios.

The device would be pointless if the police are right behind them anyway. OTOH if the cops are far enough behind to make a GPS tracking device useful, the perps will be able to take 30 seconds to stop and take a bullet/boot/brick to the thing. I'd say the GP poster makes a fair point.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645542)

  If the criminals have to stop to smash it from their rear bumper then surely its job is done.

How? The whole point of this thing is to not pursue them and pick them up later. If they stop for a minute, smash the thing to bits, and continue on then you've lost them.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645522)

I'm sure if it's fired at the back bumper you don't have a hope in hell of removing it without stopping and reversing at a wall or getting out the car and pulling it off yourself.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (1)

Pandamonium (710232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645548)

I'd be curious to see how smash proof this thing is.

And I'd be curious to see you dangle out of the car at high speed, crawling over trunk with one hand trying to maintain a grip and in the other a hammer to smash the damn thing. Sounds like you could make it as a stuntman in the next Indiana Jones movie if you can do this :-)

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645567)

Did you not understand that the point of this is to NOT pursue the suspect? It only takes a minute to stop the car, smash the thing to bits, and continue driving.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (5, Insightful)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645551)

Also if it hits paint which is the most likely area of a car for something to hit its going to come off easily no matter what. The only thing holding the thing on no matter what strength glue it is, is the bond between paint and metal. And thats not strong. It's like when your sister glues your hand to the car because she caught you with the cat and you think the superglue is going to bond you to the outside of the car but you find the paint comes off in the shape of your hand. You're free even if the glue has held onto the paint.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (4, Funny)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645671)

Sounds like a personal anecdote to me. Hmmmm. A cat, you say?

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (2, Insightful)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645565)

Oh yea,

1. Get out of vehicle
2. Fetch hammer from trunk

The point of the technology is to stop high speed pursuits from becoming more dangerous- by ensuring that the suspect cannot get away, police vehicles can back off a few hundred meters and wait for the driver to stop of his own accord/come to his senses/run out of fuel. The moment he stops, the police wil be on him in seconds and he'll be arrested.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (1)

rumbi (931781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645573)

> Delicate electronics don't tend to survive being hit with a hammer. You don't have to get
> it off the car, all you have to do is disable it. I'd be curious to see how smash proof
> this thing is.

Well, I don't know just how delicate this *can* be if it's to survive smashing into a speeding car fired from a gun... (scenario: policeperson tags the car as it approaches)
I guess it would be tough enough to not be easily destroyed.

Re:Why unglue when smashing will work? (1)

thedletterman (926787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645578)

It's as easy as stopping a mile down the road, playing smash smash, getting back in the car and going home. I for one am not a fan.. I drive a really fast car, and I drive it really fast. Normally, the police won't bother to put their donuts down to chase. I can't count how many speed traps I've hit on I-75 going over 120 MPH... now all they have to do is mount a stickyball launcher to a portable radar in the bushes to tag my car as I blaze past... sucks.

This fills a need (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645485)

Car chases careening through L.A. mowing down pedestrians like wheat aren't just the stuff of action movies. They're actually a significant danger.

And for as long as people have been saying, "Chasing people down residential streets at 80 miles an hour is dangerous, for Pete's sake!" the standard reply has been, "Well, we can't just let them go."

Now, maybe they can let them go, and the Bigger-Dick Theory of Car Chases can finally be put to bed. Stick them with a tracking dart, surprise them when they're sleeping. Just like Batman. Except with less bats.

Re:This fills a need (1)

pete19 (874979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645517)

...surprise them when they're sleeping. Just like Batman. Except with less bats

If some arsehole steals my car and chases people down residential streets at 80mph, I'd want the police to use more bats! Apart from that, I agree with you.

Re:This fills a need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645639)

This idea is rubbish, principally because you're implying theres some permenance in the relationship between car and driver. Most likely, the car will be ditched the second the cops back off, and the person looses them on foot. This tool is to aid in reducing speed, not to abandon chases and resume them.

what if car is stolen ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645502)

this will help tracking car but not the person in the car. if police stop chasing person because they think they can track using gps signal, person can leave the car ( if car is stolen ).

Car chases? (5, Funny)

IncorrigiblePunster (952102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645509)

I am going to have to disagree with this plan. Yes, it might make running away from the police futile. Yes, car chases will be over more quickly. But I cannot and will not deal with the loss of "World's Wildest Police Chases" because some guy who had a spiderman sticky toy when he was 9 invents a spiderman sticky toy that ends police chases. It's not right.

'high-speed pursuits' my backside (1)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645511)

This is going to be worse than useless in such circumstances. If the police are going to be in a position to use this they'd surely be able to use spike strips to take out the tires. If a foot officer saw a stolen car and was in a position to tag it but is it worth carrying the weight. Shades of Snowcrash loogie guns.

The only thing this would be useful for is surveillance, and there are better devices out there.

Re:'high-speed pursuits' my backside (2, Informative)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645537)

Can you lay a spike strip from behind a car?

Re:'high-speed pursuits' my backside (1)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645580)

If it's got to the stage of firing this thing from a moving vehicle then you'd already know where the car was and could head it off. Besides, once the driver sees the tagging the car is useless and would have to be dumped, which may lead to more dangerous chases as they attempt to escape.

Re:'high-speed pursuits' my backside (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645612)

That's the whole point; cops wouldn't have to continue a dangerous chase once the suspect's car is tagged.

Re:'high-speed pursuits' my backside (1)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645650)

But they still have to be there to catch the driver(s) once they try and dump the car. That requires either visual contact or you'd have to use a helicopter to track them, in which case why bother with this device?

Re:'high-speed pursuits' my backside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645647)

Besides, once the driver sees the tagging the car is useless and would have to be dumped, which may lead to more dangerous chases as they attempt to escape.

on foot?

Re:'high-speed pursuits' my backside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645605)

Spike strips require you to get in the path of the car. At the speed the car is going at, you'll need to predict quickly where the car is going and get there first. And that's if you're lucky enough to have the driver in an area where his possible routes are limited (ie, he doesn't turn to some side street, avoiding the spike strip completely.)

If this device is light enough that it doesn't have to be vehicle mounted as the article says, it could be fired at the car from a overpass should the police not be able to get in an oncoming position that spike strips would require.

Not to mention, blown-out-tire -> less controllable car -> greater danger risk. As commented elsewhere here, with this, the police can back off from the criminal, cooling the situation and lessening the hazard to the public. They can still maintain a visual via helicopter.

Chases dont just 'materialize' (1)

i_am_not_a_bomba (904443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645656)

With a dozen cars screaming down the road, once it gets to that stage (where there is enough cars to head it off, lay spikes, etc) the chase would have gone on for far to long and have put dozens if not hundreds of lives in immediate mortal danger.

Being that a chase will usually start when a single patrol car tries to stop someone and they take off, the moment the runner floors it, shoot this sucker and thats it. No need for a dozen cars hurtling through populated streets at rediculous speeds chasing someone of unknown driving ability and unknown state of mind (except absolutely pumping with adrenaline, thus ensuring tunnel vision and criticaly poor decision making abilities).

The greatest benefit? Innocent people wont die because the police where trying to arrest someone.

vehicle tracking (5, Interesting)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645513)

I recently did work at a company that sort of competes with onstar - the field is referred to within the industry as 'telematics' apparently. Anyway, it was kind of interesting, drivers could put their cars into a theft recovery mode' where in addition to reporting gps it would also kick the cell phone on in a stealth mode where operators could hear what was going on in the car and coordinate with law enforcement. One time when I was there one of these was going on and the operator was on the phone and could hear the siren as the police approached, and was able to tell them 'no, it sounds like you're getting further away from them' when the cop car took a wrong turn or something. Pretty neat.
Apparently the legal department of the place spent the majority of their time fighting off law enforcement from getting info from the service to track suspected drug dealers or whatever for agency requests.

Re:vehicle tracking (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645608)

Yes I've heard of these. One company sells a product called Boomerang. Sounds great.

However would it not be easier to tie the theft signal directly into the engine management computer to kill the engine ( modern cars simply don't function without that computer) and look the doors? Should give the police long enough to find the car with the GPS before they break out.

Re:vehicle tracking (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645631)

yeah, i believe that's been discussed, but there's the issue of what impact that could have on other motorists.

Re:vehicle tracking (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645666)

I an EMP pulse weapon, sort of a Taser on steriods would be the way to do this. That way the the cops could see if the coast was clear before trigging the device.

Dumb criminals (2, Funny)

Quizo69 (659678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645649)

Let's see now. How about this for a hypothetical situation:

Criminal/drug dealer type buys expensive car with his ill gotten money. Said person then proceeds to install a GPS TRACKER in his expensive car so if it gets stolen, the company can track it and return it to him and he can take the person who stole it to court???

I guess this is why criminals continue to get caught - because by the sounds of it, most of them are stupid enough to voluntarily put TRACKING TECHNOLOGY in their own cars. Makes it easy for police to build a social network map of the criminal's associates and market now, doesn't it?

In reality, SMART criminals would work like this:

Buy aforementioned expensive car. No need to install expensive tracking device in case it gets stolen, because the thief would soon find themselves trying to play Harry Houdini with concrete slippers encased around their ankles....

Nice and quiet, no need to involve law enforcement, and everyone ends up happy (well, except for fishfood boy).

Only in America.... land of the stupid criminal mastermind!

I'm pesimistic (4, Insightful)

DongleFondle (655040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645527)

It seems to me that anyone willing to engade in a long hi-speed pursuit is just the sort of person that this will NOT be effective with. I understand wanting to avoid long pursuits. In fact, in my city, as a matter of policy, police officers will not engade in a pursuit with motorcycle in the downtown area. The combination of speed and the crowdedness of the streets are simply not worth the risk.

Also, think about the nature of the pursuits they are wanting to avoid. We've all seen it on cops. Driver takes off going way in excess of 100 mph on city and neighborhood roads. If the cops are lucky, they can radio ahead to other police officers and setup road blocks or put down tire strips. But the suspect always either nails the cops with his car and keeps going, or blows his tires out and keeps going along right on his rims shooting sparks every which way. Sometimes, the cops will perform that move where they catch up to the fleeing car and ram it on a rear fender which sends the driver spinning out of control. Sometimes this works. Sometimes they spin out and hit people and just keep on going. Sometimes they even get the suspect trapped between two cruisers and run at the driver, pistols drawn. And sometimes the drivers just smash their way right out of this almost killing the police officers in the process.

Yeah, I understand the need to want to curtail all of this dangerous activity. But what the last thing you always see from your airial police-cam? The driver gets out and starts running. My guess, if the person fleeing is desperate enough to get involved in a high speed pursuit, then they are also probably going to run after they ditch their car. If the cop is hanging back, I seriously doubt they are going to catch them.

Re:I'm pesimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645559)

They won't ditch the car if they are running because they have a few kilos of coke in the trunk... the idea isn't to not chase them when it is safe to do so, but to not lose them once you've lost them, and to not have to decide if you should chase them through the elementry school parking lot.

Great for Jail Breaks (1)

syntap (242090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645547)

They can just stick these on the sides of inmates' heads, and if they try to scale a wall or dig a tunnel and escape, they can just go find him. The best thing is they only need the dogs for the last three meters or so.

Not So Easy (2, Insightful)

Old Spider (948471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645553)

That's not a bad idea at all. A hand-held launcher has one huge flaw: while you are chasing a suspect's car you are also likely speeding through the streets with the other vehicle, attempting to avoid obstacles and pedestrians, talking to other officers, trying to keep up with where you are so you know what to tell the other officers, and bouncing around inside your car. Now try tagging someone with one of these trackers at the same time. Not only would you be unlikely to make the shot, but you'll also be putting your life and quite possibly other people's lives in further danger.

With this device another officer at dispatch could remotely aim and fire the vehicle-mounted device. However, using pre-installed GPS devices are far less costly to the police force and probably a bit more reliable, but this tracking ball is a great back-up in case someone didn't comply and someone else stole that particular vehicle.

Then again... there are such things as helicopters. ;)

Re:Not So Easy (2, Insightful)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645564)

I would presume that this would be fired by an assitant officer in the passenger seat?

Re:Not So Easy (2, Interesting)

Old Spider (948471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645624)

The article doesn't say anything about that. However, I would advise against having a partner in the vehicle. You see, the reason the police in the US stopped using partners like that is because having two people in a hightened state (the adrenalin rush) causes them to experience a sort of tunnel vision. They become less inclined to keep sharp on the situation and instead fall prey to group hysteria. The obvious solution was to keep other officers out of a squad car so that officer can concetrate and keep things 'icy'. If you've ever watch the television show 'COPS', notice how the officers are reacting after a big chase. They're hyper and need time to calm down. Imagine how much more difficult it would be in a patrol car when two people are like that. Driving the vehicle as safely as possible under those circumstances would be greatly reduced.

That's not saying police officers aren't trained to handle that kind of excitement. They certainly are, but removing an extra source of distraction keeps officers in a vehicle from losing control over themselves and ultimately the situation.

Re:Not So Easy (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645641)

That's a strange theory. In the UK, as far as I'm aware, the Police are pretty much required to have a co-pilot with them in the car, for various reasonings, including the general safety that comes from splitting an intense situation between 2 people, and the 'witness' you have to anything either of you do.

Re:Not So Easy (1)

Old Spider (948471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645657)

In the US the police vehicles are often equipped with cameras and on one occasion several years ago (when I had been naughty) I notice the officer was recording our conversation via a belt-mounted transiever of some sort. It was probably just his CB, but when I didn't lie to him like he wanted me to he turned it off. Police helicopters in the US definitely have cameras. With these devices there's normally plenty of evidence in favor of the officer and if the officer needs backup he can easily get it.

On the psychological aspect, one officer is less threatening to a suspect than two or more. That can easily calm a suspect down, giving that person a sense of control. When things are threatening to the suspect, the suspect is more likely to do something drastic. A police officer can be much more effient this way, often relieving an otherwise tense situation. This is especially helpful in resolving domestic disputes.

Not a silver bullet (2, Insightful)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645561)

The idea that this will end high-speed car chases is seriously far-fetched.

If a policeman relies on this device and stops chasing the guy, the common criminal will simply ditch the car and get away.

The reason cops chase people is so the bad guy doesn't get away. Maybe it will help in situations where the police can't help but lose sight of a car in a chase, but how often does that happen outside of the movies?

Re:Not a silver bullet (2, Insightful)

massivefoot (922746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645610)

I think people are taking an over simplified view of this. Just because police cars have dropped back does not mean the suspect is no longer being persued. In the UK it seems to be standard practise to call in a helicopter to follow the car. This device would simply make it easier for the police helicopter to distinguish the car from others around it, and would also allow for the possibility that officers lose sight of the car before a helicopter arrives.

Yes, the criminal will most likely ditch the car eventually, at which point he will still be visible to the helicopter pilot, who will be able to direct police cars back towards the suspect.

And this neat vaproware item will fail to work. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645581)

Just like the kiddie trackers and other GPS devices. they will stop working t he moment they are in a building of any size and with a metal roof or lots of stuff between the sky and the reciever.

Solution? when you get enough of a lead, stop and either yank the damned thing off, wrap it in tinfoil, pull into a all metal trailer, etc....

The GPS in phones always made me laugh. The ones in Nextel phones suck horribly taking upwards of 10 minutes to get a fix and do not work indoors.

All these startups are trying to jump on GPS as if it's the new hotness. and every signel device I see can not overcome basic problems with recieving a semi-weak signal from sattelites overhead.

My high end hand held GPS has trouble holding on to 12 sattelites in dense tree cover, some really low end reciever mated to some other electronics is not going to do anywhere as well. Espcially something the size of a golf ball that will have a transmitter withing millimeters of the GPS recieving antenna swamping the recievers in the gps as well as not having a way to right it's self so the GPS antenna is aiming at the sky.

Cool (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645588)

The next step in the development is, of course, to deploy a lil' spider-bot to crawl under the car and disable it by cutting a fuel line or drilling a hole in the fuel tank.

Also, it might be useful to put a small UV strobe on this type of device, to make tracking by helicopter much, much easier (as if spotting someone doing 120mph in a 50 zone wasn't easy enough) as CCDs will pick up UV light without any modification. I could imagine that helping if the suspect fled to the cover of trees. That said, it just occurred to me that a lot of choppers have IR vision as well, which makes things easier than any strobe. D'oh.

Of course, my opinion of people who drive like this is that police choppers should be armed with Hellfire missiles, and that this little beacon should be used to just take these people out with one, but that's just my opinion. Fuckers.

The logical answer to that: GPS jammer (2, Interesting)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645594)

Okay... that just makes the case once more for the GPS jammer, a device that emulates GPS signals and fools every GPS receiver in its vicinity into thinking it is located near the south pole. Of course the car is still trackable by triangulating the location beacon. Of course a GPS jammer like that would be a dangerous thing to have and I'm thinking of here is what if someone happens to put that on a plane. I fly myself so that's a scary thought.

Stick one on every pol.ice car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645601)

I want to know where my cops are.

It's not like when we were kids! (2, Funny)

Blue Mandelbrot (951902) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645609)

When we were kids we used to throw snowballs at passing cars. The kids of tomorrow will be throwing sticky GPS tracking devices at cars.

Not every city has a helicopter... (3, Interesting)

m0ng0l (654467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645615)

I kept seeing a recurring theme throughout the posts on this device (and I haven't read the article yet), in that police should chase the criminals with helicopters. Great idea, but a lot of cities and towns don't have, or can't afford, or don't have the facilities for a helicopter.

There are also many ways in which a helicopter can be either avoided, or at least forced to drop far enough back to give you a better chance to lose it. Going near a major airport comes to mind. A city with many tall buildings (downtown New York or LA comes to mind) would make the helicopter less effective.

The way I could see police using this device, is tag the car, then "let" them get away/out of sight. Using the GPS, keep a group of patrol cars in a "box" around the suspect, and eventually, he/she will stop somewhere. At that point, move in. Best case, everybody wins. The cops get the criminal, the vehicle is minimally damaged, and few if any civilians get hurt. Worst case, the cops get the car back in good shape, and again, few if any civilians get hurt. Truthfully, I believe the cops would much prefer fewer chances of civilian injuries versus getting the criminal in custody, and not just because of the lawsuits.

Likely, most chases start when the criminal does something to attract the attention of the police, who then do what they are supposed to do: try to catch them. The problem with backing off, is that once the chase is on, they get fixated on stopping them. It seems a (very loosely) similar situation would be when one is working on a project or program, and is cruising along, try to stop... One big difference, which I'm sure someone would point out if I don't, is writing code isn't going to hurt anyone.

Stop and think for a moment, too, what would happen if the police *never* chased. Why bother doing anything even remotely near the speed limit? Streets are too corwded, hit the sidewalk at 60mph... Traffic signals would be less than "suggestions"....

At least if people think there's the possiblity of a cop, or several cops, chasing, and likely stopping them, they're more likely to simply pull over. With the obvious exception of criminals....

Won't the police need spider-sense (2, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645620)

Won't the cops need spidey senses to use it?

Tag people (4, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645626)

If everyone has a tag, then you can just track people directly. Even when they are on foot.

Wouldnt we be so much safer if the government knew where everyone was , at all times?

The Gallagher Stupid Dart! (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645646)

Does anyone remember that idea he had? I probably got some details wrong, but it was something like this: Everyone gets a dart gun that shoots a dart that sticks to another car, it says "stupid". Get enough stupid darts from driving like a lamer and you aren't allowed to drive any more. The original moderation/karma system.

It wouldn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645689)

You tag my car, I run your sorry ass off the road and shove your gun so far up your ass you'll shoot darts out your nose evey time you sneeze.

what happens if the criminal panics..... (4, Insightful)

techmedic (889980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645677)

What happens if the criminal panics?? More specifically, what will happen if the criminal thats being chased looks out his window and sees the cop aiming what looks like to be a gun at the car? Granted it would be pretty unrealistic to expect the officer to pull right up, point the thing out the side window and shoot while driving along side, but even so, one of three things could happen. The criminal can shoot back (very doubtful but who knows in a car chase). Or the guy can panic, loose control of the car, sending it into who knows where, or he can go at even faster speeds trying to lose the cop. Or he could just stop and the chase would be over ;) Its pretty obvious that these darts have to be shot discretely.

undigested article (1)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645682)

A little more [governmententerprise.com] information:

"Each StarChase unit can fire two GPS tracking devices in case the first one misses or does not stick to the vehicle. The GPS device consists of a battery and a radio transmitter embedded in an epoxy compound. The tag affixes to the suspect's vehicle and transmits its location via satellite to police headquarters where it is superimposed over a map displayed on a computer. The GPS tag activates at impact. It transmits the car's exact position via a wireless modem. An encrypted cellular backbone delivers continuous position updates to the StarChase server that pushes location-based information to authorized users through a password-protected Web portal. The delay between the transmission and the refresh-picture rate from the Web server is about two to three seconds. The system uses data transmission encryption to ensure security."

RC car and an EMP (1)

Midnight Warrior (32619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645687)

I've kind of thought that a highspeed RC car could launch, use military technology for tracking, get under the car and attach itself with a bunch of hard drive magents. Either use that as the GPS device (which eliminates the whole impact debate here) or emits a small, localized EMP. Yes, I know that EMP takes a lot of energy, but nothing a couple of really large capacitors could be revved up to handle. Few people are likely to initiate a chase in any vehicle that doesn't have a computer nowadays, so the only weak spot would be diesels.

For the critics who complain about what an RC car would need for resources, they are forgetting that two things are in its favor: the vehicle only needs to run at full speed for about 2 minutes (>2minutes is a failure), and its carrier is already travelling at full speed. Heck, for that matter why not make it a hovercraft and avoid all those pavement anomalies.

P.S. This counts as prior art. :-)

Does anyone else think... (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14645702)

... that hitting a moving car from another moving car would be, uh, rather difficult?

Jammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645710)

Time for a competitor to come up with a cheap portable GPS jammer

Shoot back (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14645714)

The cops start shooting at you with anything at all for whatever reason their little pea brain has, that gives you the right to shoot back.

If you are ever involved in a high speed car chase, common sense should tell you you can't outrun a cop car which has a souped up engine, souped up radiator, bigger gas tank, and when they are interconnected out there with radios and a central dispatch. You can learn alot from the discovery channel.

This is what you do.

First, you jam them across the radio band with a white noise generator connected to a transmitter you have wired to your beefed up car electronics system. If you're not driving with one of these, you're a sitting duck for any police action against you. They will pull you over, they will search you, they will plant evidence on you, and you will suddenly find yourself doing 10 to life. Pigs have more access to 'drug evidence' they can plant on you than you could ever imagine. In the end, it comes down to your word against theirs, who do you think a jury will believe. I thought so. The only person who will protect you is you yourself. This is life or death.

Second, you site your automatic weapons on the son of a ****** that is chasing you from the rear seat while someone else drives. Slow down, let them catch up to you, and then aiming straight for the driver you let him have it with the full clip. If that don't kill the SOB it sure as heck will convince him to back the f off. If you can't get the driver, the tires and the radiator are secondary targets.
Remember to lead your target.

If you don't have someone else in the car or a weapon, you have to follow Boella's (sp?) Dicta, which says you should always, always, turn and face your enemy at all times. In this case, the bogie is already on yoru tail. Speed up real fast, get him going real fast with lots of inertia, and then slow down, closing the gap, so Piggie thinks he's being supercop and has you now. Then slam on the brakes real hard so he smashes into your rear end. You will be expecting it, he won't.

Now most amatuers at this point would speed up and try to run for it again. No, that gives him time to speed up and go back into supercop mode. You do what any motherbear would do protecting her cubs. You turn and fight. That's right, swing your car around, and start ramming the SOB. Forward, backwards, forward, backwards, slam in to him, aiming for the weak points in his combat vehicle.. the driver side door first, the radiator second. Once you've beaten him black and blue, then you can leave. Get a good distance a way, ditch the car out of site, and get yourself a fresh vehicle.

You will want to return and pick up the original car later, as it may trace back to you with prints, etc. So its good to stash it down some logging road in the back woods.

Or, you can continue to live in your fairy land, that the police are there to serve and protect, and not a police state out of control, only interested in protecting power and fear and slander upon you. And that a defense lawyer, which should be the most honorable profession on earth, meant to be the last stand against the overwhelming power of the state... hasn't been undermined or sold out yet or has no clue how to really defend anybody in court, irregardless of how expensive they are.

The only one who will protect your rights are you. You have to fight like a pyscho Indian, and yes, its to the death. Why this is? Because for the last 20 years nobody has stood up for civil rights, and everything that was fought for in World War 2 against fascism and police power has been eroded away and is now gone.

Oh yeah, and when you stash your beat up car, assuming the "paintball golf ball gps unit" is still attached. Stop by an airport, find a plane that is about to take off, and stash it on somebody's carry on. Or if you can't find that, watch for one of those ninja bikes, and when he stops for gas, tag him with it, he should give them a run for the moeny. Or barring all that, throw it on a cow. Me, I'd probably just smash it.

Whatever you do, you have to start learning to fight back. My daddy named me Sue for a reason. If it did nothing, it taught me how to stand up for myself and fight back. You can't be a girlie-boy all your life and let punk pigs push you around.
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