GPS Bullets: Could this Innovation Mark the End of Police Chases?

GPS NavigationHigh-speed pursuits, more often than not, end in car crashes which result not just in injuries, but also in property damage and even death. To mitigate this, the United States police departments came up with a new tracking method that lets officers monitor a suspect’s every move without putting the life of anyone on the road at risk.

Using GPS constellation technology, agencies came up with “GPS bullets” that catch rogue drivers without the dangers associated with a high-speed chase.

The Star Chase

The technology, called The Star Chase, consists of a launcher and a bullet. The police can launch this tracking technology from the grill of their cruiser where it will consequently stick to the suspect’s fleeing car to deploy. The GPS projectile that contains the tracking device uses compressed air when fired.

The authorities can control the projectiles with a remote control, or with a button on the dashboard. In the event the suspect’s car attempts to flee, the police only needs to press a button, and the system will then launch the tracker at the vehicle in front of the previous target.

Success Rate is High Despite Challenges

While the projector sticks to the target car about 50% of the time, wet conditions provide a challenge to the device’s adhesive. Despite this, authorities who have earlier used the system say with further training, it’s possible to raise the success rate to 75%. In the 28 times that the authorities used The Star Chase since its trial period began, they were able to take 17 people into custody and recover 26 cars. Trevor Fischbach, president of Star Chase, says that, so far, there had been no injuries, fatalities, property damage, or liability.

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Cost-wise, the price is a bit steep at $5,000 for a dual-barrel launcher that can carry two tracking devices. The system’s developer, however, points out that there are up to 100,000 high-speed pursuits in the country every year, which puts officers, offenders, and even bystanders at risk. With this new system, the government can avoid both the death of police officers, pedestrians, and the escaping drivers.