The Long Tentacles of the Law Could End Car Chases Safely

By Brett Israel | December 28, 2009 6:01 pm

There is really no good way to end a high speed car chase. Shooting out the tires of a fleeing vehicle or laying down old fashioned spike strips are both terribly dangerous. Ramming the getaway car with a police cruiser until it spins out is obviously risky. Thankfully, the government is hard at work on the problem and they’ve come up with a solution that maybe ready by next year, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The technology is named the Safe Quick Undercarriage Immobilization Device, but you can call it SQUID.

“SQUID was inspired by a sea creature and a superhero,” says [Engineering Science Analysis Corporation] president Martín Martínez. Like its oceanic namesake, SQUID ensnares its prey with sticky tendrils. Like Spiderman’s webbing, these tendrils stretch to absorb the kinetic energy of their fleeing target.

Huge amounts of such counterforce are necessary to stop a heavy, swift vehicle: Think Spiderman II, where Spidey stretched his webbing for blocks to halt a runaway passenger train. The force nearly killed him. Martínez took a different approach that would have made Spidey proud: Don’t fight the Force; just stop the axles from turning. Do that and you can stop (almost) anything with wheels.

The technology is capable of stopping heavy vehicles, and in one demonstration it quickly brought a pickup truck moving at 35 miles per hour to a gentle halt. Check out the video below from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s YouTube channel (?):

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Video: YouTube / ushomelandsecurity

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
MORE ABOUT: weapons & security
  • Keenan

    Aaargh! People need to check the availability of acronyms before they use them. SQUID has meant Superconducting QUantum Interference Device for 40 years. It’s bad enough having people think you’re a marine biologist rather than a physicist; we don’t need another possible meaning to confuse things.

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