New technology can stop car using electromagnetic waves.

Volvo's new safety technology

A British company has developed new technology to create a device capable of stopping and disabling vehicles using electromagnetic waves.

 

The company behind the new technology.

Technology solutions provider, E2V has showcased it’s newest creation, the RF (radio frequency) Safe-Stop. It was shown to numerous interested parties at a demonstration in Worcestershire. Several companies are also creating technology like the RF Safe-Stop device but E2V believes it’s product would prove useful in a law enforcement or military application. This is because it offers a non-lethal option to forces attempting to stop a vehicle at checkpoints and guarded locations. During the showcase, the E2V demonstrated its stopping power on a second-hand collection of cars and motorbikes. The RF Safe-Stop works by transmitting a radio frequency pulse capable of disrupting modern car electronics and forcing the engine to stall. Operators simply need to press a red button when a fleeting target comes within a range of 50metres to trigger a five-second radio pulse burst. If the first pulse doesn’t confuse the engine control unit (ECU), the operator can promptly discharge another burst.

 

Comments on the use of the technology.

Deputy Chief Constable, Andy Holt, of the Association of Chief Police Officers commented that the machine had, “potential, but it’s very early days yet.”

Andy Wood, Project Manager of the RF Safe-Stop commented, “It’s a small radar transmitter. The RF 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.”

 

Possible police technology?

While it is keeping its cards close to its chest with regards to who exactly has expressed an interest in the RF Safe-Stop, Government police forces are already eyeing it up as a new traffic policing tool. In particular, police forces are interested in the RF’s ability to safely stop motorcycles, a problem they currently struggle with using conventional ‘stop sticks’, which burst a vehicle’s tyres. This would also prove useful in the future as autonomous self-driving vehicles become a viable possibility.

 

The concerns with the new technology.

However, the BBC reports that some experts have expressed concerns that the device may not stop vehicles quickly enough, and there are safety concerns as to its effect on a car’s braking and steering systems. The device would also not work on older vehicles, due to their lack of electronic systems, though almost any vehicle with a modern engine, including boats, could be disabled using the kit. At its demonstration, E2V also suggested that the new technology, the RF Safe-Stop, posed no risk to drivers wearing pacemakers. The company hasn’t provided detailed specifications or costs for the device or technology.

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