SCARAB Police Chase Assistant concept


June 8, 2010

The SCARAB Police Chase Assistant concept

The SCARAB Police Chase Assistant concept

Image Gallery (8 images)

You’ve gotta hand it to Industrial Design students. They have the youth and imagination to come up with some really intriguing ideas, along with the skills and tools to give us tantalizing glimpses of what those ideas might actually look like. Case in point: The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design’s recent graduate Carl Archambeault, and his Scarab concept.

The Scarab would be an all-electric autonomous police chase assistance vehicle. It could either be stationed at the side of the road, in a check stop scenario, or it could presumably be towed behind a conventional police car. To use it, a police officer would first have to “tag” the fleeing vehicle with a handheld electronic device. The Scarab would then “lock on” to that vehicle, not unlike jet fighters already do with their targeting systems.

At that point, the officer could end his own pursuit, and leave the fast, light, nimble Scarab to chase down the other vehicle. It could navigate using onboard sensors and computers, although it could also be remotely-controlled if desired. The idea is that once the fugitive driver realized they couldn’t shake the thing, they would pull over. The Scarab would wait with their vehicle, until an officer showed up. Although Archambeault stipulates that it would not carry weapons, he says it could be equipped with an electromagnetic pulse generator, or other vehicle-disabling technology.

Why would we want it? For one thing, it would reduce the number of times officers had to risk their lives in high-speed pursuits. Archambeault thinks it would also reduce collateral damage, as its small size and light weight would result in less serious accidents. If multiple Scarabs were used for something like a speed trap, one officer could simultaneously pull over several vehicles, then get to them one at a time. In the case of high-profile O.J. Simpson-type chases, less officers would be needed, freeing them up to do more patrolling. Also, because of its electric motor, it wouldn’t create any emissions.

Perhaps its biggest selling point, however... it looks hotter than Hell! C’mon, wouldn’t you want to see one of these things tearing down the street? It would almost be enough to make you want to be pulled over by the cops. Almost.

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

I can\'t really understand why you would use a UGV instead of a UAV, apart from anything else, a UAV is less obtrusive, which is less likely to cause people to flee resulting in \"persuit accidents\" and you wouldn\'t have to worry about your UGV being responsible for killing pedestrians or other road users.

It seems like a lot of added risk and complexity for no added benefit.


It is stunning how few get that 3 wheeled vehicles are inherently unstable. Yes the rendering is fun but it is airheaded like a beautiful woman who only can say duuuh.

Island Architect

Although the UGV looks good it is just rubbish. Chases occur when people do not want to be caught. The second that a suspect has one following him, and the officers have broken off, they will flee on foot. No officer to chase him in a UGV. Time would be better spent in finding a low cost, safe, disabling device that would allow the officers to end the pursuit sooner.

Sean Francis

Fit it with a weapon and blow these loonies off the road!


Drew and Sean are correct, this is a bad idea.

Island doesn\'t know what he is talking about, 3wh vehicles, especially EV\'s can be the best handling vehicles if designed right with equal weight on each wheel and a low CG. However this design is unl;ikely to be a good one as the batteries must be between the front wheels for good CG and there isn\'t enough room. Move the front wheels back another \' or so and balance it correctly and it would be OK handling wise.


There is no reason why a trike can\'t be a stable vehicle. There are plenty of real high performance ones out there. As Jerry D said, the centre of mass just needs to be very low and near but behind the front \"axle\". There is another Engineering problem that these \"window dressers\" need to address - the vehicle will roll (because it has double A arm front suspension), in a good design with these wide tyres it would also need roll camber compensation to keep those tyres \"square\" to the road. How is that to be achieved at the rear?


@Drew__1 is right. A UAV would go unnoticed thereby tracking the vehicle and tracking the suspect further, if they bail. It might even negate the need for a police helicopter, which is expensive. At the very least it could be deployed by ground units to track and report, including video, until a helicopter could take over if needed.

Will, the tink

If the getaway vehicle jumps onto and off a pavement, this little 3-wheeler will just topple over. End of story. Great design exercise, though. The Scarab design would be better off as a real 3 wheeled electric vehicle, i think.

Nantha Nithiahnanthan

For what is supposed to be a group of intelligent people most of the commentators seem to be missing the point...this was project by engineering students. The purpose of the these concept projects is to teach. The goal was creative thinking. Great work Carl!!! As for the nay sayers....keep telling everyone how bad they\'re ideas are. It only shows how narrow minded you are.



Good design excercise. However, we need an autonomous wave-skimming oil vacuum more right now anayway: more feasable and absolutely necessary, whereas this is not.


Guys, a three-wheeler can be stable as an oil rig on dry land ;-) There are all sorts of ways to stabilize a three-wheeler: tilt, active damping, low center of gravity, co-steering rear wheels. If you want an overview, check out:

If the Scarab is supposed to be a police pursuit vehicle, then the front wheel suspension looks way too vulnerable. Like the way it looks though.


teach them what? to come up with patently useless answers? UAV not UGV. Small nimble, in car, not on a trailer (boy, talk about budget busters!) deployed on a following, intercepting, or disabling mission. Or careening down streets of unsuspecting citizens where speeding officers know not to go. And how about the speeding officer \"tagging\" the suspect vehicle before this toy can follow it! what about a simple camera and click drag? That way the officer doesn\'t have to , essentially, point fire and hit with a target designator, while driving at enough speed so as not to loose contact with said bad car.

Logic should be required of engineers. Ask what the product solves and what it brings into lifeas a new problem. later we can talk about designing,

Casn you emagine the things these people could do to can openers or wine openers? I\'ve seen some of the second!


Everyone who posted a negative comment about the practicality of this vehicle has completely missed the point. Design exercises are to inspire a student to think outside the box. This was created by a design student, not an engineer. The fact that it may be impractical doesn\'t really matter. (Besides, using for a regular traffic stop, until the officer could arrive, isn\'t really that unpractical...which was one of the uses if you actually read the text.)

If you don\'t like the design, that\'s one thing, but to cry foul about the practicality shows you don\'t understand the exercise in the first place.


well said Vanson !


It may seem be a great idea for some other use coming from industrial design students. However why not tag the vehicle and put a vehicle disabling device in the tag itself to jam the car system. Why allow a pursuit to go on endlessly to test the skills of how good the scarab is. How about a little fly bot with a camera instead that could fly up to a car and disable it without being a menace or road hazard.

Is this supposed to be some bat mobile from hell racing down school roads etc just causing major havoc I am just trying to think inside the box as a design student. It does have to be practical and one does need to take in to account the purpose of thinking outside the box its still being on public roads.

Besides similar ideas already existed where police some in actual practice where police have a little robot car released from inside the police vehicle at a touch of switch the only difference in pursuit the second it was released would catch up and disable starter of car it was chasing.

Not to mention that if a vehicle could be disabled by GPS a device car dealers thought of employing if they didn\'t receive payments of purchased cars sounds a lot safer although not convenient from customer view to find he cannot use his car but for someone on a mad dash on road disable the vehicle before harm is caused. We don\'t need a lawn mower on the road to cut grass or pedestrians if something goes wrong with it.


Interesting idea, but if you want a autonomous pursuit vehicle you\'d probably be better off with a toy-size helicopter & camera. Less potential for traffic mishaps that way. Another thing is the idea that a police officer needs to tag the car with a portable electronic device. If you could do that, and said portable electronic device had the right capabilities, then there\'d be no need for any kind of pursuit!

Lastly, this is no more inherently unstable than a 3 legged stool is.


the runner would pull over ans shoot the tires out of it

Patrick Ballenger
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles