New product shuts car engines off with a radio pulse

ARS Technica – by Casey Johnston

The company E2V has developed a prototype device that uses a radio-frequency pulse to shut down a car’s engine at range, according to a report from the BBC. While the range of the device is fairly short, it worked on a handful of cars and motorbikes and could also potentially be used on boats.

The product, named the RF Safe-stop, works by sending an RF pulse to a car at up to 50 meters (164 feet) away. The pulse “confuses” the car’s electronic systems, which the BBC said made the “dashboard warning lights and dial [behave] erratically.” The engine then stalls, and the car comes to a stop. How safely and quickly the vehicle would stop depends on the vehicle, and this technique would not work on older vehicles.  

Engineer Magazine suggests the RF Safe-stop could be used for stopping vehicles that are suspected of being car bombs. Likewise, the Safe-stop could cut police chases short or be installed in a fixed area to prevent cars from entering. The Association of Chief Police Officers, speaking to the BBC, said that it would be a safer alternative to stopping two-wheeled vehicles than shooting out their tires. E2V does not specify how narrowly the Safe-stop can be targeted.

Andy Wood, a product manager for E2V, told Engineer Magazine that the company will be taking orders for the Safe-stop in the coming weeks.

6 thoughts on “New product shuts car engines off with a radio pulse

  1. Good luck aiming it at my Reliant Robin then with its good old fashioned Lucas 45D points driven distributor, in fact good luck with anything like an old Mini, Jaguar or such who all use non electronic ignition hehehe

    In fact I imagine it will have as much fun against my motorcycles or scooters which have their electronics buried inside the engine casing, most motorcycles keep metal shrouding around the CDI as well so good luck with that too 🙂

    To get around this, all you would need is a faraday cage protecting the soft electronic components as it would disrupt focused phased signals and earth them off safely, I’m on the side too of the bloke who reckons he can create a “blowback” vest for tasers, where the charge is absorbed, capacitated and accumulated and because its not earthed would hopefully “blowback” up the cables seeking an earth which would be the handy police officer standing there wondering why his ears have smoke coming out of ’em.

    1. Points came to mind immediately the faraday cage idea should work also and getting the entire power train grounded better with large battery 6 to 8 gauge wire should help as well.

  2. This is why I refuse to buy a car with a push button ignition starter and this is why the car companies are forcing everyone to have all of these electrical computerized components in the car and refuse to give them the option not to. If the people question it, the salesmen will just say, “But it’s so cool and so much easier. You can impress your friends with all of these features. Why wouldn’t you want them?” And then look at you like you are strange for not wanting it.

    So I just tell them, “I want to be the one controlling my car, and not have my car control me”. That basically shuts them up for a moment and is usually followed by, “You know, you have a point there.”

    1. Some cars like the GM and BMW’s are already talking to their makers and my friend who has a brand new M5 was shocked to know that BMW knew where he was, what speed he was doing, when he gets it serviced, now all Mr CIA or NSA has to do is wander along to BMW’s HQ in the US and drop a letter on them and they will hand over everything and he’s not even a US citizen but works on Royal Navy bases hence “of interest” to America and its Israeli data gatherers 🙁

      BMW deny this but if the car is in constant contact via satellite, they can literally kill the car remotely and said man from 3 letter conundrum can come along with a letter and say “can you stop this car please”

      Too much big brother going on here

  3. Guess I’d rather pay more for less.That’s regulation.I’ll have a ’69 judge to drive and no judges to tell me I can’t.

  4. That is why i got my 1964 jeep cj-6. They can point it at me all they want and all they’ll see is my tail lights.

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