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SQUID spawns vehicle-stopping Pit-BUL and NightHawk devices

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March 5, 2013

The Pit-BUL (above) and NightHawk are two new car-stopping devices, based on the existing ...

The Pit-BUL (above) and NightHawk are two new car-stopping devices, based on the existing SQUID system

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We’ve all seen movies where a strip of retractable spikes at a checkpoint tears up a vehicle’s tires, or where a roadside cop throws a chain of linked spikes across the highway in front of a car. While such devices are pretty effective, there’s always room for improvement. That’s where the Pit-BUL and NightHawk car-stopping devices come into play. Both devices are based on a single other existing product, known as the Safe, Quick, Undercarriage Immobilization Device ... or SQUID, for short.

The SQUID was developed in 2010 by the Engineering Science Analysis Corporation and manufacturing partner Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company, with funding from Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate.

It launches spiked arms attached to strips of heavy webbing into the underside of a vehicle. The result is that the arms and webbing get tangled up in the axles, causing the vehicle to stop. Although it gets the job done, feedback from law enforcement officials indicated that it was too big and heavy. The solution? Divide it into two devices.

The first device, the Pit-Ballistic Undercarriage Lanyard (Pit-BUL), is placed at a checkpoint and looks like a speed bump. Should a driver try charging through that checkpoint, however, spikes attached to netting are launched from the Pit-BUL and into the vehicle’s tires.

The Pit-BUL in action

Not only does this flatten the tires, but the rotation of the car’s wheels pulls the netting up into the axles. Within milliseconds, the front wheels seize up completely. A car that simply had flat tires could conceivably still be driven for some distance, although not with a great deal of control – potentially making it more dangerous.

Pit-BUL can be remotely activated manually, or can be set to automatically deploy in response to a triggering mechanism. It can be seen in action in the video below.

The second device, NightHawk, serves the same purpose as the spike chain being thrown by hand. In this case, however, no one is required to stand at the side of the road, potentially in the altered path of a fast-moving vehicle.

Instead, the suitcase-like device is placed beside the road, then its human operator retreats to a safe distance of up to 180 feet (55 meters). Just before the vehicle reaches the NightHawk, the operator remotely triggers it to shoot a spike chain across the road. As soon as the vehicle has run over the chain, the user once again activates the device, this time to pull the chain back in. This keeps other vehicles, such as pursuing police cars, from also running over it.

The NightHawk can be seen in the following video – note how much the ejected, covered chain looks like one of those joke snakes that jumps out of a fake can of peanuts.

Source: Homeland Security

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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10 Comments

Pit-Bul seems to work o.k., but RTDD device either fails completely, or the sound-recording accompanying the final video is wrong. All I can hear is the vehicle continuing to accelerate away after apparently having all its tyres deflated, no doubt in real-life followed by some increduclous police officers.

Mel Tisdale
6th March, 2013 @ 06:34 am PST

Running from the cops...you have to choose it. You have no redgard for the lives of anyone you may endanger. You deserve a missile up your tailpipe...but until we can just kill you this will do nicely.

I'd love to see them embedded into road surfaces at intersections and in front of railroad crossings! The lives of innocents saved would be worth the cost, and in large numbers nationwide would save a very significant number of lives.

John Hemingway Parkes
6th March, 2013 @ 07:18 am PST

No doubt they didn’t actually put spikes into that RTDD device, but simply to show how it deploys, and to save actual expense of replacing 4 tires. None the less with the added weight of spikes (assuming the jumping snake is weighted to account for the missing spikes). My concern would be not so much be the deployment, but retracting on a snowy surface, as I think the box would slide.

The ramp seems only viable in a controlled check point area, as running on the open road as in the video, I would definitely suspect that rather large would be evaded by going around it, or traveling much higher than 50mph.

Bob Flint
6th March, 2013 @ 09:25 am PST

Maybe not cost effective but would be great at on and off ramps to stop wrong way drivers.

Giant leap frog
6th March, 2013 @ 09:38 am PST

The SQUID only works up to 40mph?! That's not exactly a high speed chase.

Stradric
6th March, 2013 @ 11:54 am PST

two ways to improve the RTDD.

1) have the retraction be automatic. Once the device senses that is has been run over, it should auto retract

2) Give the case some kind of anchoring device...metal spikes that hold the case down or something similar...kinda like those .22 cement nailer things that construction workers use...

Ed
6th March, 2013 @ 03:57 pm PST

can devices be ejected from car ala 007 style or No, be radical for Roving armed security IE VIPs etc.Limousines.

Stephen N Russell
6th March, 2013 @ 06:01 pm PST

Roadblock devices such as these tend to be ineffective because villains invariably try to drive around them increasing the danger to personnel operating the device.

nutcase
7th March, 2013 @ 03:50 am PST

LOL PIT-Bul =)) This idea belongs to Vietnamese police: http://docbaonhanh.info/cong-an-thanh-hoa-vang-luoi-bat-toi-pham.html

It appeared in Vietnam years ago

Christopher McKenny
9th March, 2013 @ 09:55 pm PST

Seriously.... An electromagnetic field will do a much better job at any speed. When I had a car there was a location I would drive by and every time I did the car would stall. Nearby there is a radio tower.

This device has to be setup ahead of the car to be stopped. It would be much easier for an electromagnetic puls to be fired at the car which knocks out the electrics and the car slows to a stop. The breaks still work all be it degraded and the steering works again heavy and hard to turn in some cars.

A car stoped at 40 mph would eject a passenger not wearing a seatbelt through the windscrean and kill them. The person ejected would not be the driver and may be totally unaware of the situation ( may probably not but it is possible) They most likely will be kids. Again do we really need to kill some kids doing something stupid????

If governments implemented mandatory speed controll system in all cars that the police could access then all of these points are not relevant.

People who comit crime are sick and need help they don't need to be punished. Small minded people.

Foxy1968
11th April, 2013 @ 06:24 pm PDT
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