By on December 3, 2007

crossfire_304155_1486455.jpgInventorspot reports that a California hi-tech start-up named Eureka Aerospace is developing a microwave gun to zap an automobile's Electronic Control Unit (ECU), disabling the car. The prototype's pulse lasts 50 nanoseconds– enough to overload wires and/or damage the car's central microprocessor. The radiation energy unleashed by the 300 megahertz burst (compared to 2.45 gigahertz in a microwave) doesn't interfere with common radio frequencies and won't turn a human's internal organs into goulash. Speaking to TTAC (podcast below), CEO James Tatoian said the U.S. Marine Corps are helping sponsor the research in their search for ways to protect themselves against car bombers. The LA Sheriff's office is also in on the deal, loaning Eureka vehicles for their ECU frying tests, hoping they can put "World's Wildest Police Chase Videos" out of business. Tatoian says his company hopes to have a field tested working gun within two years. [You can watch a news report on the microwave by clicking on the avi file here .]

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24 Comments on “Eureka! Microwave Pulse to Stop Car Bombers, Fleeing Felons...”

  • avatar

    I think it’s time I reverted back to carburetors. Luddites unite!

  • avatar

    Don’t Tase my car, Bro!

  • avatar

    I can’t wait to use this on those dudes tailgating me.

    Or the cars on the bridge overhead.

    Or the cars in the parking lot.

  • avatar

    Carbs FTMFW!

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    It will probably raise hell with a cardiac pacemaker or quartz wrist watch.

  • avatar

    A waste of money. A microwave is not going to stop momentum. It is not going to stop a super-simple and shielded motor.

  • avatar

    “Or the cars in the parking lot.”

    Hasta La Vista Car Alarmsssss

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Just to expand on yankinwaoz’ comment. If the frequency is 300MHz, that means that the wave will be about 1 meter long. That means that anything with holes (roughly) smaller than 1m will act as a shield. So in my quick (non EE) analysis, I’d say that the passenger compartment (where the ECU is kept generally) could be a good enough shield on its own. Surely, wrapping the ecu in aluminum foil would be enough.

    Any EEs want to give the real story?

  • avatar

    I would venture a guess that those involved in high speed chases are not the same people who would think to wrap the ECU in aluminum foil prior to embarking upon their daily routine. That’s the practical ME analysis rather than the technical EE.

  • avatar

    If the wavelength is 1 m long, then a Faraday cage with holes less than the wavelength will work to block any RF of 300 MHz and below.

    Wrapping the ECU in chicken wire and properly grounding it should do the trick.

    Of course, I would also recommend going the extra step of shielding any wiring connected to the ECU as well. Unshielded wiring can be a weak spot in your EMP-hardened ride.

  • avatar

    The radiation is then focused with a special antenna into a narrow beam, and aimed at a car’s headlights, tail lights, lug nuts, frame bolts, or windshield antenna. It’s essential to hit these vulnerable electrical parts

    Is there something I should know about my lug nuts?

    At a high power of 300 megahertz (compared to 2.45 gigahertz in a microwave), the radiation energy is above common radio frequencies

    Actually, it’s in the middle of the fixed/mobile allocation from 235-322MHz — in between TV channels 13 and 14.

    I love the press.

  • avatar

    Gotta be a misprint. 300 GHz maybe?

  • avatar

    You would have to build a grounded cage around the entire car that is isolated from the car & grounded to the ..uh.. ground. Anything grounded to the ground of the car would just serve as a nifty antenna. Hence the aiming @ something with a good connection to the electrical system, like the headlights. Lugnuts would work well on the ground side.

  • avatar

    MaxHedrm – I’m pretty sure that Faraday cages don’t need to be grounded. The idea is that accumulated charge is required to be on the outside of a conductor. So any charge induced by the 300MHz EM wave will be “stuck” on the outside of the cage and not make it into the ECU. Now as quasimondo said, we do have to worry about the wires (going into the ECU) acting as antennae, but other than that, I think an ungrounded Faraday cage would be fine.

    /Not an EE
    //Think I know more about EM radiation than I probably do.

  • avatar

    I’d be more concerned about criminals and kids making one of these with COTS (commercial off the shelf) technology in about 10 – 15 years. Time to buy back the ’83 Chevy C-10 truck. The closest thing to electronics in that hunk of junk was the rich, mono AM radio it had.

  • avatar

    What about the crinimals or runaway using it on the police cars so i can get away….this can be really interesting….I hope “the truth about cars” will keep posted on this…..imagine the possiblities of such device…..

  • avatar

    I had read about big rig drivers doing this. Their blast didn’t affect their diesel rigs but the blast could fry any most any modern vehicle’s electrical system. I am glad I never upset them on the highway.

  • avatar

    They probably utilize the Faraday cage of the vehicle’s body and the internal wiring to generate a “standing wave” of energy (reportedly of 10-15 kV/Meter), which, if properly tuned to the particular vehicle, could disable the ECU. But there are a lot of “ifs” as to its real-world effectiveness, such as being able to properly phase the antenna emitter, to rapidy sweep large amounts of RF energy through the required frequnecy range (presumably to find a particular vehicle’s “sour” spot), and training the officers in its proper use (frying ECU’s in the cars of “innocents” could lead to legislation against its use).
    It’s a “neat” idea, but the hype is being generated a bit early; I’ll be surprised if it’s in use within 5-10 years.

  • avatar

    They’ll probably be shutting cars down via onstar before they get this perfected.

  • avatar

    A waste of money. A microwave is not going to stop momentum.

    How can this be any worse than blowing out the tires of a car going 100MPH?
    As far as counter measures–consider that most cars are stolen shortly before the crime they are used in.
    Even if a criminal is smart enough (and remember, if they were smart…) to think of EMP shielding, they may not have time.

  • avatar

    Carbs are a good solution . . .

    I think I might just get a mid-80s Porsche with Bosch mechanical fuel injection

  • avatar

    The proliferation of electro-hydraulic brakes and steering is a big concern here. Steering in particular.

    If the car gets zapped anywhere but a straight road you might have a wrongful death lawsuit on your hands.

  • avatar

    my college algebra teacher works for this company… i heard about this like in spring of 06. this guy is nuts…he tested his own car and apparantly it works…and he was late for our class. terrible teacher, couldnt understand the guy. too smart for his own good. plus he shouldnt have told us all that info about that crap.

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