Stop in the name of the law! Cops can use radio waves to bring your car to a halt

bringing villains speeding car halt just radio new technology making reality rf safe stop

Finding a safe way to stop fleeing cars has been a difficult problem for law enforcement for a long time. Police have tried everything from spike strips to PIT maneuvers to bring fleeing villains to a halt. Now, however, a British company has a slightly more high tech idea: radio waves.

The company, known as E2V is working on a system called RF Safe-Stop that projects radio pulses which overwhelm and shutdown engine electronics. The system is in essence a small radar transmitter that uses specific radio frequencies to create an effect similar to an electromagnetic pulse.

The BBC reports that in testing the system has been able to shut down slow moving cars and motorcycles at a range of up to 50 meters. It may not be a flying car, but still I am pretty sure this is the 17th sign that we are in fact living in the future.

There may be one or two problems with that future, though. For starters, the system doesn’t bring a car immediately to a halt, as the car will coast from whatever speed it’s disabled by the RF Safe-Stop.

The bigger problem is that the system interferes with ALL electronics – that means, cell phones, navigation, oh and the electronics controlling the brakes and, you know, the drive by wire steering systems that are becoming increasingly common.  That could create some safety issues.

On the reverse side of things, any car made before about 1980 might be immune to this thing, because of their analog construction. Unless of course that car was made by the British or the Italians, in which case I am assuming the electrical systems would cut out just from idea of being near the thing.

Still, even with those disadvantages, there are some reasons to be optimistic about this technology. All of the alternatives have their own problems. Spike strips can stop motorcycles, but in doing so they also tend to stop the hearts of the people colliding with them.

The PIT maneuver generally works. But it can have unpredictable, and, shall we say, ‘unsafe’ results. A quick YouTube search yields a lot of videos showing cars getting stopped with the PIT flipping over and catching fire.

That makes for good episodes of “World’s Wildest Police Videos” but helps to explain why most departments don’t use it anymore.

And the RF-Safe Stop is a far cry safer than what we used to consider the future of law enforcement. In the 1950s, the Texas Rangers thought it would be pretty neat to mount a gun in the hood of its cars that you could fire with an arcade style pistol grip, presumably while shouting “Pow-Pow! Yeehaw!”

Popular Mechanics Gun-in-Hood

So with those as our other options, I am definitely willing to give E2V a shot at figuring this thing out. And, apparently, so are the British Police and the Ministry of Defense. I look forward to bringing you more details.

Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.
Smart Home

Ford’s ingenious bed for couples keeps mattress hogs in their own half

Drawing on its driverless-car technology, Ford has created a smart bed for couples that uses sensors and a conveyor belt to prevent either occupant from straying onto the other half of the mattress while they doze.
Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.