Skip to comments.Stopping Cars with Radiation-A beam of microwave energy could stop vehicles in their tracks
Posted on 11/14/2007 10:36:22 PM PST by BGHater
Researchers at Eureka Aerospace are turning a fictional concept from the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious into reality: they're creating an electromagnetic system that can quickly bring a vehicle to a stop. The system, which can be attached to an automobile or aircraft carrier, sends out pulses of microwave radiation to disable the microprocessors that control the central engine functions in a car. Such a device could be used by law enforcement to stop fleeing and noncooperative vehicles at security checkpoints, or as perimeter protection for military bases, communication centers, and oil platforms in the open seas.
The system has been tested on a variety of stationary vehicles and could be ready for deployment in automobiles within 18 months, says James Tatoian, the chief executive officer of Eureka Aerospace and the project's leader.
To bring an opposing vehicle to a halt, the 200-pound device is attached to the roof of a car. The car's alternator serves as the system's power source, whose direct-current (DC) power feeds into a power supply. This generates a stream of 50-nanosecond-duration pulses of energy. These pulses are amplified to 640 kilovolts using a 16-stage Marx generator.
The 640 kilovolts of DC power are then converted into microwaves using an oscillator that consists of a pair of coupled transmission lines and several spark-gap switches. Finally, a specially designed antenna beams the microwave energy toward an opposing vehicle through a part of the car, such as the windshield, window, grill, or spacing between the hood and main body, that is not made of metal. (Metal acts as a shield against microwave energy.)
The radiated microwave energy will upset or damage the vehicle's electronic systems, particularly the microprocessors that control important engine functions, such as the ignition control, the fuel injector, and the fuel-pump control. However, electronic control modules were not built into most cars until 1972, hence the system will not work on automobiles made before that year.
The concept of disabling vehicles' electronic system with microwaves was first tested in 1997 by the U.S. Army using bulky and heavy military equipment. But the Eureka Aerospace system is only six to eight feet long (antennae included) and not quite three feet wide. "It is much more efficient and compact than anything previously used in military vehicles," says Tatoian.
The device's peak power output is two gigawatts, although the average power emitted in a single shot is about 100 watts. Each radiated pulse lasts about 50 nanoseconds. All the test cars' engines were shut off using a single pulse at a distance of approximately 15 meters, making the total energy output 100 joules, says Tatoian. His company is currently developing a more compact high-power microwave pulse system with the goal of disabling engines at ranges from as far away as 200 meters.
"I have no doubt that if you set up a microprocessor and get a high-powered, well-focused beam of energy on [a car], you can disrupt its operation," says Peter Fisher, a professor of physics and the division head in particle and nuclear experimental physics at MIT. But to be able to deploy such a system safely will take some work, he says.
Imagine if a police officer is in a high-speed chase near a shopping mall and turns on one of these systems to stop the perpetrator: a lot of elevators have microprocessor controls, so if the officer is pointing the device in the direction of the mall, he or she could end up trapping 12 people in an elevator, says Fisher. Many other electronic systems, such as an automated teller machine or a security system, could also be disrupted.
Furthermore, Fisher cautions that, while the system may seem like an easier and more efficient solution than spike strips, it could still cause a huge accident if a car is disabled and a driver loses steering control. The system could pose a safety concern as well: radiation can burn human skin, and microwaves have long been suspected of being a cancer-causing agent.
At the moment, the most practical application for the system would be in the U.S. Army or Marine Corp, for perimeter protection of areas that are generally remote, says Fisher. Initial funding for the project came from the U.S. Marine Corp, but now Eureka Aerospace is looking to other governmental agencies for financial support as the company continues to work to make the device smaller, lighter, and more efficient. (Tatoian says that details regarding future work with the military are confidential.)
My concept was to use a spear on a teather to shoot into the vehicle you wish to stop. As soon as contact is achieved, send an impulse over the wire to overload the electrical system in the vehicle. The action is limited to one vehicle and it should work.
I wouldn’t like to see the impuse weapon used due to it’s possible effects on pacemakers.
Can’t wait for these guys to be used on us ‘civs’. that of course is the next step.
And just who would pay for all those burned out microchips that deputy Huckleberry takes out on every car except the one he’s chasing?
What a stupid idea. Ranks up there with giving cops tasers.
Besides, they already have a built in car disabling device called on-star that will eventually be on all gm cars. No doubt the rest will soon follow, along with built in GPS tracking devices, not for the car owners benefit, for the police state governments. Of course YOU will pay for these unwanted things..
You stole the idea from the movie “fast and furious”.
I have seen the movie, but I don’t remember that part. Could be my subconcious picked up on it. Seems like a decent idea though. Did it work in the movie?
I agree. Every weapon we develop, I think of a time when decent folk will be the ones hunted down with them.
Only old diesels that don’t have electronic fuel metering controls. All new diesels are loaded with electronics.
As for cars, they’ve loaded them up with so much electronics crap you can’t swap out engines anymore It would have to be a swap from the exact same make and model, even year in many cases. You have to change the ECU and the wiring harness along with the engine, and what ever suprizes they stick behind the dash, anti theft, and additional control chips are hidden there as well.
well, what’s on top of that car will stop anyone in their tracks. You know... the flag...very controversial
no, the next step is for our brave military to use these weapons to defend our country against the islamists that are trying to kill us. I dunno..what you said sounds very DUish
For a while, but of course the "Hero" in the movie (bad actor) then leaned out the window, while steering the car with his toe and pulled it out while at the same time out driving 50 police cars causing them all to crash and burst into flames, all while talking on his cell phone to the movie's leading whore/star, who of course tripped and fell earlier in the show, and is now a captive on the villans boat.
I burst out laughing at your description. That sounds about right. Some of the movies out these days make Star Wars look believable by comparison.
Bringing up DU or implying someone favors that belief because they question the tactic or strategy is silly and tries to stifle debate.
Oh I don't think so. It's where this country is heading. Socialism always turns into dictatorships sooner or later. Just look at how many freedoms we've already lost, and all the silly laws and rules you have to live by. For example- speed limits. we are all fooled into thinking speed kills, and that a lot of people drive dangerously. How? Speed limits are lowered until the number of people who don't comply with the "law" increases. If speed limits were higher, more people would conform, the statistics wouldn't support the claims. This is how the government engineers things to create revenue, and also to please insurance companies. It's all tuned to generate max revenues and profits. Look into it further if you don't understand what I mean.
I’m talking about the idea that the military will one day use these weapons against us. So many have died to protect our freedom.
I watch these car chases through neighborhoods for an hour and wonder why a cop in a helicopter can't disable the car with his service weapon. Put one through the block or radiator if you don't have the cods to put one in the brain pan. It would be less dangerous than watching him run lights at 100mph for an hour.
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