Police agencies are always looking for ways to limit or prevent high-speed pursuits, but that usually involves disabling the offending vehicle with spike strips or some other device. A company called StarChase has been working on a GPS-based system that eliminates the need for a chase and doesn't put officers in harm's way.

Although we first reported on this back in 2007, ABC Action News in Tampa shows that the technology is now being tested on a broader scale. The company's Pursuit Management Technology uses a compressed-air cannon (shown above in the grille of a Ford Police Interceptor sedan) to fire projectiles that can be tracked via GPS onto vehicles attempting to flee thus allowing officers to follow from a safe distance. In the report, however, it sounds like there are still some bugs with the system as only one out of four projectiles stuck to a vehicle during a media demonstration.

Some obstacles for the system still remain including price, which is $250 for each single-use GPS projectile. More importantly, as NPR points out, police are usually required to get a warrant before placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle, so the legality of this system could come under fire in the future. Scroll down for the video report showing a demonstration of the StarChase Pursuit Management Technology and how it can be used to prevent dangerous high-speed chases.


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  • 46 Comments
      PiCASSO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good to know the next time I'm being pursued by the police. Once they stop following me, I'll pull off the GPS tracker and continue on my get away.
      threefortyduster
      • 1 Year Ago
      I live in St Pete, every time there is a chase, there is a subset of the population that goes insane. It seems as if no crime is worth apprehending the suspect to this subset, and they always blame the police, not the criminal. If this shuts them up, bring it on, but I don't see how it will lead to more apprehensions, just recovery of the car and evidence in it. This would just give the perps time to bail on foot.
        brandon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @threefortyduster
        No crime is worth the danger to the public by chasing aforementioned car. EVER.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Ben Dover
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a fan of Judge Dred, I find this method of pursuit too effeminate.
      chrismcfreely
      • 1 Year Ago
      No chases = cops driving fiestas and transit connect paddywagons. If I\'m buying these pigs\' gas, then that is all good.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chrismcfreely
        Seriously. If avoiding pursuits is the goal, then why do cop cars need to go 130-150mph?
      HAYJR
      • 1 Year Ago
      So it is unsafe to be texting on your phone and driving but cop in a high speed pursuit can use a laptop and that is OK? Hope there is a partner in the car to work the laptop.
      daewootech
      • 1 Year Ago
      you cant run from the helicopter... so why do they all need performance sport cars to police traffic tickets?
      GR
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not sure why a warrant is needed. If a cop is following a vehicle in a high speed chase, then the cop is witnessing a crime. The cop then has probable cause to search that vehicle. A warrant is needed to search something without an officer finding probable cause first. This is how cops can search your vehicle if they smell or see anything illegal in your car without a warrant (like marijuana odors or a gun on a seat in places where that is illegal). Say they arrest you and want to then search your home, then they need a warrant authorized by a judge. I'm not 100% sure as I'm not a lawyer, but I think the cops can legally track a vehicle they are actively pursuing because the police are witnessing the crime as it happens.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GR
        I suppose one issue is that GPS very easily tracks a vehicle even when it leaves the public view -- for example, on private property or behind walls/fences. What happens in public is largely fair game but GPS units don't just shut off when someone drives out of public view.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @The Wasp
          Granted, that all goes out the window in an active pursuit -- but the point of this device is to end the pursuit, so I suppose the case would be handed over to detectives who are not able to use GPS without a warrant.
        Narom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GR
        That'll be how they see it in the UK, probably much different over in the US though.
      Basil Exposition
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow this sounds like a great way to reduce the huge risks involved with a high speed chase without letting the suspect get away. Hopefully they can some up with a set of circumstances in which Police can legally use this without a warrant. $250 is worth it to avoid the chase, but they've got to do better than a 25% stick rate.
        belfagor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        agree, those $250 may save the life of an innocent by-stander hit by the fleeing car. As for the 25% stick rate, well... shoot 5 and you'll have a 76% stick rate. And like someone suggested, make the perp pay for the bullets!
      creamwobbly
      • 1 Year Ago
      "only one out of four projectiles stuck to a vehicle during a media demonstration" So fire a dozen and get the cost down. Police chases are an idiotic kneejerk response to crime that endangers the public more than it solves crime.
      Cayman
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't think a warrant would really be an issue since the officer presumably has already witnessed a crime and is simply trying to apprehend the suspect. Just like an officer doesn't need a warrant to enter your house if you are fleeing him. Also, $250 doesn't sound particularly prohibitive either. How many high speed chases do cops really have in the first place? This would only be necessary for that rare cases where a person continues to run.
        Tom Winch
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cayman
        "Also, $250 doesn't sound particularly prohibitive either. How many high speed chases do cops really have in the first place?" Here in the Los Angeles area there's at least one every day. They have many problems to work out before this idea can be viable. Looking at the video, the device isn't fired at a very high rate of speed. They got one out of four to stick when they fired it at a stopped vehicle. If the police car is chasing a vehicle at a high rate of speed, the projectile GPS will need to be traveling at a greater rate of speed to catch and hit the targeted vehicle. I don't think compressed air is the answer, unless they mount a large air compressor in the police vehicle and really blast the GPS into the chased vehicle. Back to the drawing board!
      denniskfc
      • 1 Year Ago
      a $250 per shot GPS cannon can be defeated by a GPS signal jammer that cost the same and can be use many many times. unless they can make a unjammable GPS tracker, it's just a waste of money
        creamwobbly
        • 1 Year Ago
        @denniskfc
        And if it's a technology war, a high power EMF gun will win every time. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/409039/stopping-cars-with-radiation/ If it's an older car, the EMF will disable any GPS jammer, then the GPS trackers can be deployed.
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