You’ve gotta hand it to Industrial Design students. They have the youth and imagination to come up with some really intriguing ideas, along with the skills and tools to give us tantalizing glimpses of what those ideas might actually look like. Case in point: The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design’s recent graduate Carl Archambeault, and his Scarab concept.
The Scarab would be an all-electric autonomous police chase assistance vehicle. It could either be stationed at the side of the road, in a check stop scenario, or it could presumably be towed behind a conventional police car. To use it, a police officer would first have to “tag” the fleeing vehicle with a handheld electronic device. The Scarab would then “lock on” to that vehicle, not unlike jet fighters already do with their targeting systems.
At that point, the officer could end his own pursuit, and leave the fast, light, nimble Scarab to chase down the other vehicle. It could navigate using onboard sensors and computers, although it could also be remotely-controlled if desired. The idea is that once the fugitive driver realized they couldn’t shake the thing, they would pull over. The Scarab would wait with their vehicle, until an officer showed up. Although Archambeault stipulates that it would not carry weapons, he says it could be equipped with an electromagnetic pulse generator, or other vehicle-disabling technology.
Why would we want it? For one thing, it would reduce the number of times officers had to risk their lives in high-speed pursuits. Archambeault thinks it would also reduce collateral damage, as its small size and light weight would result in less serious accidents. If multiple Scarabs were used for something like a speed trap, one officer could simultaneously pull over several vehicles, then get to them one at a time. In the case of high-profile O.J. Simpson-type chases, less officers would be needed, freeing them up to do more patrolling. Also, because of its electric motor, it wouldn’t create any emissions.
Perhaps its biggest selling point, however... it looks hotter than Hell! C’mon, wouldn’t you want to see one of these things tearing down the street? It would almost be enough to make you want to be pulled over by the cops. Almost.
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