Can a kill switch prevent terrorist attacks like the ones in Berlin and Nice?

MAN TGS truck
Big cities like New York City and Moscow blocked roads with large trucks to prevent a Berlin-style terrorist attack on New Year’s Eve. The British government is responding differently to the threat, and it has allegedly hired a small team of scientists to secretly develop a remote kill switch capable of stopping a big rig in its tracks.

The project is called Restore, a name that stands for REmote STOpping of Road Engines, according to British newspaper The Daily Mail. Its aim is to develop a technology that would allow authorities to remotely disable large trucks and vehicles carrying hazardous material if they’ve been hijacked or if they’re being used in a terrorist attack like the ones that recently rocked Berlin and Nice. A senior official who wished to remain anonymous explained the Restore technology will also make vehicles more difficult to steal even if terrorism isn’t the thief’s main motivation.

Remotely disabling a car or a truck is relatively simple because new and late-model vehicles are brimming with electronics. The kill switch would be a line of code integrated into every car and truck sold new on the European market so officials wouldn’t need to hack into a vehicle. In a diesel-powered truck it would need to cut out the fuel supply, in a gasoline-burning car it could merely disable the ignition, but it could also deactivate any of the myriad sensors required for a modern internal combustion engine to run. The technology needed to stop a vehicle using any of the three aforementioned methods already exists.

While Restore was developed by government officials in the United Kingdom, the kill switch technology could be deployed across Europe. Sources told The Daily Mail that engineers hired by the European Union have been quietly developing a similar device for about two years. At the time, leaked documents explained the device was a way to track criminals by monitoring a car’s movements via GPS and stop it if necessary.

“Cars on the run can be dangerous for citizens. Criminal offenders will take risks to escape after a crime. In most cases the police are unable to chase the criminal due to a lack of efficient means to stop the vehicle safely,” the leaked documents explained.

British and European authorities haven’t commented on the report.

Cars

Did that car just wink at you? Daimler previews car-to-pedestrian signals

Eager to show off progress with autonomous cars and perhaps do some consumer softening as well, Daimler and Bosch previewed car-to-pedestrian communications. A sensor-loaded Mercedes S appears to wink to acknowledge a pedestrian's presence.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Cars

Uber is about to restart self-driving car tests but on a reduced scale

Uber is reported to be on the verge of restarting its autonomous-car test program. The company halted it in March 2018 following a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, but its cars could be back on the road within weeks.
Cars

Bosch is developing a Rosetta Stone for autonomous and connected cars

Bosch and start-up Veniam want to create a common language that autonomous and connected cars can use. The two firms have developed a connectivity unit that transcends the national boundaries of technology.
Cars

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.
Cars

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.
Cars

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.
Cars

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.