StarChase tech lets police shoot fugitive cars with GPS tags


October 29, 2013

The StarChase laser sighting system (green light) sits within the GPS tag-shooting cannon

The StarChase laser sighting system (green light) sits within the GPS tag-shooting cannon

Image Gallery (2 images)

Police car chases are extremely dangerous, not only for the officers involved, but also for any innocent passers-by whom the feeing car crashes into. The StarChase system, however, is designed to make those chases safer. Instead of pursuing fugitive vehicles, police can just shoot them with GPS tags.

At the heart of the system is a compressed-air cannon and a laser sighting system, installed in the front grille of a police car. Using a simple console-mounted control panel, officers can activate that cannon to shoot an adhesive GPS "tag" at the back of the other vehicle. Each unit, not including the tags, costs approximately US$5,000.

The cannon, in its closed state (left) and one of the GPS tags

Once the fugitive vehicle has been tagged, its whereabouts can be tracked by a central dispatcher, who can coordinate the movements of other cruisers to head it off. The pursuing officer can drop back to a discreet distance, hopefully causing the fugitive driver to slow down, as they're no longer trying to outrun the police car.

The StarChase system is currently being tried out by police forces in Iowa and Florida.

Source: StarChase via CNET

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

The best option is to have quadcopters with camera tracking devices follow cars and then have several of them that can detect if occupants leave the car and track and follow several occupants. this would mean no car chases, and being able to follow and track people that have stolen a car and then discarded it to run on foot.

Air highways need to be defined for drones / UAVs, so that we can get these devices in use quicker.

Greg P

What a good idea, get it commercial ASAP so that it could be used all over the world and make it as cheap as possible.

Tommie le Roux

Haven't we seen this one in a James Bond movie a few years ago?

Excellent tegnology though - you can run, but you can never hide!


I know cops are supposed to be the good guys, I know polices chases are not good and if you are running from the cops there is a chance innocent people will be hurt. that being said I still can't help but side with the poor bastard being chased. Every time I see a chase on TV I am on the side of the guy running. Here in Ontario Can. you cannot have a radar detector , The speed limit on the highways is a ridiculous 62 mph, fines are very high and the cop's always seems to be out in force with speed traps. Now we have a law that says' if you are 30 mph over the limit you are "racing" , the police can confiscate your vehicle and leave you on the side of the road and you are liable for a 10/k fine. Similar to the "hooligan law" in Australia Loz Blain wrote about. Having out run the police twice (back in my younger days) I always like to have the option of just putting the hammer down and going for it. With devices such as this it just makes it that much riskier. Many will think that this is a good thing but to me it is just one more nail in the coffin if personal liberty. My heart grows heavy reading stories such as these. Time to youtube Ghost Rider.


As with other policing technologies, like radar, the speeding perps will find a way to skirt around this (by coating the rear of their cars with silicone?) It cannot be easy to hit a moving target either. At 120+mph the projectile would also have to compensate for the turbulence.


What an amazingly simple but effective idea. Don't like the cost, but the simplicity of this is inspirational. Now we need to adapt it to personal GPS tags to take out the individual shoot outs.

Martin Rayner

This flies right in the face of a recent high court ruling that stated that a warrant is required before attaching a GPS tagging device to a vehicle.

Bill B

Say... that not easily bypass using a GPS blocker ? i not sure but doesn't people sell that kind stuff in china.


What would be the cost of each device ? I am sure the "attachment" would be pretty low so all the ones that bounced off would have to be written off, finders keepers? What kind of impact would these devices survive?

Moving away from the current discussion I sometimes feel it might be a good idea to bring back technologies developed by so called "aborigines" like the literally multi-threaded device they would throw at incapacitate the fast escaping animal by wrapping it up ! May be the foot chase would become much easier !


$5000 for a potato gun? Besides with the way thing are going they will just tell the fleeing car to shutdown or drive into a bridge piling.


If the driver ditches a tagged stolen car, he will probably escape, the best way is still using puncture chains


Any decent crim will be armed with a GPS blocker......

Martin Hone

This is a great idea. If the system fires fast enough at the center of the target that the target can't swerve enough to avoid a hit during the period when the firing solution is adopted and the tracker is down range at the expected target radius it wouldn't need a safety (parachute?) to dump its momentum if it misses. Or it could fire with a little more than Just Enough Force to go the expected distance if the remaining force needed to stick the beacon to the target would not be injurious.

Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles