Police agencies in the US are reportedly testing a GPS bullet launcher that will allow them to track criminals without having to engage in high speed chases.
The Pursuit Management Technology system, developed by company StarChase, uses a compressed air cannon located in the front grille of a police car to fire small projectiles designed to ‘tag’ the fleeing vehicle.
The system uses a laser to target the vehicle in front before firing a tag with the GPS module built in. The tag sticks to the fleeing vehicle, before transmitting its location coordinates to dispatch. Police can then follow the suspect using a digital roadmap.
By allowing officers to maintain their distance it’s hoped the offending vehicle will slow down, making the situation safer for the officers involved as well as other road users.
While the idea is sound in theory, reports say the system has a long way to go. Only one of four bullets stuck to a test car during a media demonstration.
Each projectile costs US$250. That may seem expensive, but if you factor in the potential cost of damage to property or loss of life then it’s clear the initial outlay is a pittance.
StarChase says there are 100,000 high-speed pursuits in the US every year, costing hundreds of millions in insurance payouts, compensation, lost wages and medical bills.
It also claims suspect apprehension rates are increased by more than 80 per cent when Pursuit Management Technology is used.
If you happen to find yourself in a car chase with the police behind, be weary if they start to back off…