TECH
30/10/2013 07:37 GMT | Updated 30/10/2013 09:05 GMT

GPS Bullets Let Police Track Vehicles Without Dangerous High-Speed Chases

It sounds like a gadget you'd find in the Dark Knight's utility belt - but we promise this is real.

American police agencies are now able to fire GPS-enabled bullets to track car chases without injuring passers-by.

And with more than 100,00 chases on America's streets every year, that's a much bigger deal than you might think.

gps bullets

The Starchase

The GPS bullets, which are fired from a James Bond-esque cannon mounted on a police patrol car, can track a suspect in near real-time without the need of endangering officers or pedestrians.

Called the Starchase, the projectiles are already used in Iowa, Florida, Arizona and Colorado and could be making an appearance in the UK soon.

President of StarChase, Trevor Fischbach, said: "This is an important tactic for the police. We've already made a difference, from rescuing little girls from human trafficking to stopping drivers under the influence."

The cannon costs $5,000 (£3,108) to install and each bullet costs $500 (£312).

US Trooper Tim Sieleman, told the Des Moines Register: "I was able to tag a vehicle and back completely out of the chase.

He said: "We shut it down, tracked him over into Omaha. After they think the officer has disengaged, they back down to normal speeds to blend in with traffic so they don’t get noticed again."

Speaking to the BBC, senior lecturer at Leeds University, Dave Allen, outlined the prospects of the technology coming to the UK.

"This sounds like interesting technology and there is a clear operational use for it. I think the costs will fall rapidly and we will see them being used routinely in the not so distant future.

"There are other ways to track vehicles and this could raise some civil liberties issues."