New Scientist reports on a new technology called SAVELEC (Safe Control of Noncooperative Vehicles Through Electromagnetic Means) that could allow cars to be rendered immobile from a distance through the use of radio waves. The European Commission-funded technology would allow police to halt suspects’ vehicles while pursuing them by blocking communications from the target car’s internal computer.

A bit on how it works:

The new devices work not by frying a car’s electronics as military electromagnetic pulse weapons do, but by temporarily disabling them. “We want to disturb the car’s electronics so we can stop it, but we don’t want to break the car and leave it stuck on the motorway. And we don’t want to harm the occupants, nearby pedestrians or the police with the beam either,” says Macé. Drivers should not feel the beam – but they might hear something. “This is known as the Frey microwave hearing effect and consists of audible clicks… just a pop in the ear,” she says.

A prototype could be ready as early as 2016.

(Photo: Enrique Dans/Flickr)