Fleeing Vehicle Apprehension Device

November 27, 2008

Fleeing Vehicle Apprehension Device
~James Dunn

I’ve been involved with the military and robotics a bit. So this is not far fetched. But it would need to use some of the present military technology to make it happen. The current use of nail strips is far cheaper to deploy, but if a single patrol car is all that is available, no safe means of stopping a fleeing vehicle currently exists.

Configure a vehicle launched projectile that would be aimed directly at a fleeing vehicle and launched. The projectile would illuminate and track the vehicle so if sudden changes in position took place it would not matter. The projectile would approach the vehicle and then fly up over the vehicle.(already developed) The down looking camera would then identify the forward portion of the cabin of the vehicle (easily done), and then steer the projectile to impact that centered position.(alread developed)

A highly adhesive compound (goo) would hold the projectile in place.(DuPont) The projectile would contain a ballistic net mechanism, a 2-way radio, a GPS, and several ballistic operated chemical agents.(all currently developed)

Upon impact, the two-way radio would insert through the roof to talk with the driver. Letting him know by name perhaps, that there is no where for him to run. A Kevlar plate would prevent the felon from using a gun to do any damage.

To keep from having to chase after felons on foot, when the vehicle speed dropped to 15 mph (GPS) the net would deploy and prevent anyone in the vehicle from escaping. If a hostage situation exists, the police can remotely trigger the release of the netting. If they take off again, the net is a pretty visible marker and the GPS can telemeter the precise position without following too closely. The net material would be cut resistant.

If the person became too dangerous, the police could remotely trigger a variety of capsules balistically through the roof and into the vehicle (tear gas, smoke, foul odor, vomit agent, …).

The package needed to do this is anticipated to be about the size of a soda can.

Innocent people need to be protected and you can’t get information from a dead man. Criminals are going to create havoc, and law enforcement agents have the right to protect themselves. How do you change the mindset of people trained to use lethal weapons? You must give them “more effective” non-lethal alternatives. Notice my proposal only has non-lethal features.

Even though most of the device is a net, the velocity just before impact must be reduced to prevent bouncing off the vehicle. A small parachute or proximity charge would need to be activated to help control the impact pressure. If this is highly controllable, the same or similar unit could be deployed at persons on the run and have the unit decelerate a couple of feet above a runner and deploy the net.
An abort feature would be highly desireable. Have the navigation error handler shut down the projectile mid-flight and deploy its deceleration package. If it loses target-lock or the projectile moves differently and/or in a direction other than expected for a control input, the projectile simply stops, falls to the ground, and incinerates itself. This safety feature might be initiated by ballistically breaching the propellant package housing adjacent to the control and ballistic capsules (tear gas, …). That way the contaminants are burned up, a marker is created to retrieve the package, all explosive materials are destroyed, and it prevents anyone from salvaging the contents for misuse. Incineration would need to be of the smoldering variety, not the hot flame variety. The net surrounding the propellant capsule might facilitate this smoldering incineration.
Regarding technical challenges:
As the cost of nano-tubes continues to drop, a net composed of strands the size of human hair would be much stronger than would be necessary to exceed the force a person could exert to tear the net. The nature of nano-tubes allows them to withstand considerable temperatures. A nano-tube is over 1000 times stronger than steel.

A dedicated control system is already available for projectiles much smaller than a soda can, see Future Combat Systems and their smart bullits.

As for camera recognition of vehicle cabins, as cited earlier, the military already implements a very similar technology for killing tanks. Miniaturizing the technology further would certainly be plausible.

Chemical agents can be employed in ballistic pastes that are smaller than a 22 caliber shell and housed in thermoplastics and detonated by microdetonators (Sandia National Labs).

Radio systems like bluetooth are currently the size of several grains of rice placed side-by-side. RFID commonly transpond up to 600 feet away and they don’t even have an onboard power supply and are only the size of a single grain of rice.

A soda can size projectile was a conservative figure, it could potentially be much smaller.

See the work regarding micro-machines and the cost savings due to automated mass production. Of particular interest, see the micro-machine mirror drives and their implementation in a Texas Instrument display. Millions of small mirrors are driven by micro-machines to create a display by reflecting light from lamps to and away from the observer. This provides many dB of illumination in excess of what is possible with plasma display technologies. You can buy one of these displays for a couple thousand dollars, and there are millions of moving parts.

As for sensors, literally thousands of different sensors can be embedded in an array the diameter of a dime and much less than a tissue in thickness. Sensing electric fields, explosive compounds, infrared, humidity, …. (See Sandia National Labs deep etch sensor technologies).

As for significantly reducing the function of the device, criminals often flee the scene on foot and put officers and the public in harms way. Containing the criminals without harming anyone was of prime importance.


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