Federal safety regulators want all new cars installed with so-called “black boxes,” similar to those on airplanes, to help the government and auto manufacturers learn valuable lessons from accidents on the road. But the idea has stirred concerns among consumer groups and civil libertarians who fear the data in the black boxes might be used inappropriately unless legal safeguards are established.
Under a new rule (pdf) proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), carmakers would be required to equip all new vehicles with “event data recorders” (EDRs) starting in September 2014. Some new automobiles already have a black box, although their owners may not be aware of it. Automakers began installing them in the early 1990s, but they weren’t required to disclose their existence in the car owner’s manual.
Today’s cars are so full of computerized electronics, one serious electromagnetic pulse could stop any car built after the mid-’70s in an instant. Canadian company Eureka Aerospace might be able to do that with its High-Powered Electromagnetic System (HPEMS). It’s a suitcase-sized electromagnetic pulse (EMP) cannon that immediately disables a car or truck from 656 feet away without hurting the driver or innocent bystanders.
This EMP cannon is said to be ready for a demo next month. So far, the prototype is too unwieldy to place in a police car, but the idea is to shrink the device to the size of a handgun. That will make it easy to mount in police helicopters, cars, and military vehicles, potentially putting an end to deadly high-speed chases, and Read more…