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Florida police utilising ‘GPS bullets’ to calm car chases

by Mark Tyson on 28 October 2013, 12:15

Tags: PC

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Police forces in Florida and Iowa in the USA have started to deploy a new system called ‘Starchase’ which aims to make car chases safer. In the US there are over 100,000 high-speed car chases every year and all cars involved in the chase, suspect or police car, can pose a significant danger to the general public. The Starchase system basically fires sticky GPS devices at the car directly ahead so the police car can sit back from the chase and hopefully cool down the hot pursuit.

With the projectile GPS tracker attached to the getaway car, the police car and police HQ computers will know where the suspect is heading and where it stops. An added advantage of the system is that the fleeing suspect car will likely slow down as the police car backs off - perhaps thinking that he/she has lost the tailing police officer.

ABC News covered the story recently, and visited the St Petersburg, Florida police department who are trialling the Starchase system. See below.

In a car chase a flap opens up on the grille of the police car to expose the twin barrelled Starchase compressed air cannon. A web-based mapping system can then be used to track the suspect car.

Looking at the costs of this technology ABC News says the system costs around $5,000 per car plus each GPS projectile costs around $250. However such a system can reduce the police force’s exposure to many liabilities involved in a high-speed car chase as well as reducing personal safety concerns.

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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This could make GPS jammers quite popular don't you think?
This could make GPS jammers quite popular don't you think?

250$ device disarmed with a 10$ GPS jammer (idk the actual price, just that I've seen piles of illegal jammers on that site with the most extreme of deals). I guess that it'll deal with the less technical criminals which seems to be the best a police force can hope for.
How much do EMP guns cost ?
Perhaps, they should look into investing in those ?
How much do EMP guns cost ?
Perhaps, they should look into investing in those ?
I thought UK company Qinetiq was looking at these seriously at one point - I could be wrong though and perhaps they were looking at defence against it instead. Fallible memory!

One thing though that I DO remember is that there was a furore over possible law enforcement use of these EMP projectors to stop cars because (a) there was a good chance that the brakes and/or steering might be effected; (b) despite being sold as “non-lethal”, there was the scenario of what would happen if you zapped a fleeing car with an EMPer and the driver was wearing a pacemaker (the latter not exactly unusual in Florida I'd suggest!)

What's wrong with a good old fashioned harpoon! (See this home project)

Although I'm sure that the NRA would prefer to end the chase earlier with something “precise” like a Hellfire or TOW missile.
Now that you have showed how they do it, you can disable it via GPS trackers or just mash up their front a bit by braking, that should do the trick.