An EU team has devised safe means to stop a suspect’s vehicle by using high-energy electromagnetic fields. She also conducted safety tests and studied legal and ethical issues related to this technology. When necessary, the police have several methods to stop a vehicle but most of them because damage and involve certain risks. The security forces need a safer and simpler method.

How to stop vehicles from a distance

The project Savable Safe control of non-cooperative vehicles through electromagnetic means funded by the EU worked at the design point of such a method. He studied ways to disable a vehicle using electronic methods, including electromagnetic pulses and high power microwaves.

Project partners addressed issues related to its proposals including security, legal and ethical issues. In order to achieve its objectives, the project began by identifying potential uses of this technology and obtaining input from stakeholders on the subject. This resulted in nine scenarios.

The team also defined key mission requirements such as target speed and distance. Other considerations included commercial availability of components and their economic value. The researchers also studied the requirements in terms of electromagnetic compatibility for vehicles and identified vulnerable automotive systems.  At the same time, the team developed ethical compliance mechanisms and set up an ethical advisory board.

She also conducted studies of a driving simulator and sought agreement for a test campaign with volunteers. Using simulations, the team analyzed the consequences of people’s exposure to electromagnetic pulses and high-power microwaves. The project also assessed the risks associated with the use of these devices near explosive atmospheres.

To evaluate the technology in a realistic scenario, the researchers used a real car on a controlled track. If this work leads to commercialization, the results of the project should have three main consequences. They will sensitize decision makers and produce a legal framework, and the safety of citizens.