The latest device in GPS technology is certainly an intriguing one – GPS bullets. Researchers at StarChase are helping police reduce the risks to innocent bystanders and drivers during car chases by tracking the absconder.
The bullet is shot at the car and sticks to the surface so police now have a means to track the car’s direction and whereabouts. Each bullet costs around $500 but to install it in one car will cost $5,000.
This will effectively end the chase. Police will no longer need to be on the culprit’s tail as the GPS bullet will guide police directly to them.
The bullet is propelled by air and travels several car lengths in front, explains the police service in Austin, Texas, who have started using the technology. It works similarly to a T-shirt gun typically seen at sports events to shoot T-shirts into the crowd. The GPS cartridges are loaded into a compartment on the front bumper of the police car and controlled by a system located on the car’s dashboard.
StarChase tell us that Austin police were involved in 135 chases in 2012, 22 of which resulted in a crash while one incident involved the fatality of an innocent bystander. They have since installed 12 cars with these units.
When speaking with the BBC, academic Dave Allen noted some concerns about using the technology. “There are other ways to track vehicles and this could raise some civil liberties issues,” commented the lecturer, believing that the technology should not be used just for “technology’s sake.”
Currently, there is no information on exactly how durable the GPS bullets are and what the likelihood of one falling off the surface of the car might be.