The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 December 2007

Cutting out the chase

I have to admit, this looks a lot less hazardous than the classic PIT maneuver:

Eureka Aerospace, a company from Pasadena, Calif., [has] developed a device that shoots a microwave beam at a speeding car, frying its electrical system and stopping the car dead in its tracks.

To disable cars, the device generates energy that is amplified by a generator, and then converted to microwave radiation. The radiation is then focused with a special antenna into a narrow beam.

ZAP!

A pulse lasting just 50 nanoseconds is enough to overload wires or damage the car's central microprocessor. At a high power of 300 megahertz (compared to 2.45 gigahertz in a microwave), the radiation energy is above common radio frequencies, and isn't harmful to humans.

Um, hertz, mega or otherwise, has next to nothing to do with power.

Will we start seeing old Sixties relics pressed into service as getaway cars? They don't have microprocessors.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

Posted at 4:21 PM to Driver's Seat


The last I'd heard about this gizmo was that the range was so limited as to make it impractical, and the ability to focus the beam was also limited, thus creating a risk to other nearby vehicles.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:54 PM on 4 December 2007

One current bugaboo is that the thing is just too big to fit comfortably in a police car, which wouldn't help with the focusing issue, to be sure.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:12 PM on 4 December 2007

Will we start seeing old Sixties relics pressed into service as getaway cars? They don't have microprocessors.

Between this story and the one from last month where OnStar announced that police will soon have the ability to shut down cars during police chases, I say yes.

Posted by: Rob "Flack" O'Hara at 3:04 AM on 5 December 2007