Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GPS 'bullets' aid police, reduce car chase accidents

Here's something new you don't see everyday, Jonesy. As The Inquisitr reported on Monday, police in Florida and Iowa are using GPS-equipped bullets to make their car chases a little safer.

To be clear, our initial thought when reading the headline was of a smart bullet, one that adjusts its trajectory and flight pattern as a car dodges. That, indeed, would be the stuff of movies and science fiction. Instead these bullets simply do what your iPhone, iPad and Android device do: They are equipped with GPS sensors which can be used to locate then.

The technology is called Starchase. The projectile is not fired from a handgun or rifle, but instead is sent on its merry way from an air gun mounted in the police car's grill. Shades of James Bond.

The bullets aren't designed to penetrate the vehicle being chased, but instead are meant to stick to the miscreant's car. Once it sticks to the vehicle, the authorities can track the car even after it leaves their sight.

The embedded video shows a demo of the technology's use in a report from a St. Petersburg, Fla. TV station. The officer involved uses a remote device to aim with the police car and fire at the fleeing vehicle.

Florida and Iowa police have already adopted the technology to fire a projectile from their front grill at vehicles evading them, which tracks the vehicle even after the driver leaves line of sight. You might think you’ve lost them, but they are literally right on your tail.

Anyone watching police chase video shows will note the dangers involved -- to the alleged criminal, law enforcement, and bystanders. This this sort of technology, law enforcement officials can back off, so that the chase winds down, and pick up the perpetrator later.

This, of course, assumes the "bullet" sticks and remains stuck to the car, which could be an issue in bad weather. Still, the idea obviously has merit, as statistics on accidents involving police chases show.

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