Watch any crazy cop show on television today and you’re bound to see a high-speed car chase that ends with spike strips being deployed. The vehicle attempting to get away is quickly brought to a halt when its tires are shredded and soon it’s surrounded by police. For those of you who have never seen spike strips, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a metal strip that usually folds up with steel nails sticking out of it. The problem is, cars can continue to drive for quite some time on flat tires, and it can be much more dangerous, too. Now, thanks to Engineering Science Analysis Corporation and Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company, there’s a safer way for police to deploy spike strips. This new system is called SQUID, or “safe quick undercarriage immobilization device.”
SQUID is positioned on the side of the road and can be deployed by an officer standing as far away as 300 feet. Once the perpetrator runs over SQUID, spikes spring up from under the webbed surface and wrap around the wheel and axle effectively bringing the vehicle to a halt quickly. The first version of SQUID needed to be deployed manually but this new version does all the dirty work for you. Instead of putting an officer in the line of someone looking to get away from law enforcement, SQUID can be deployed by a remote. Unlike its predecessor, the latest version of SQUID is broken into two separate devices and as a result, it’s lighter and easier to carry and position on the side of the road.
The first device, known as Pit-BUL (Pit-Ballistic Undercarriage Lanyard), is positioned across the width of the road looking like a speed bump from far away. After being run over, the vehicle’s weight forces the spikes up into the tires, and quickly renders them useless. The other device, known as the NightHawk, is easier to interact with and more like the traditional spike strip. To work, officers set up the NightHawk on the side of the road and activate it by a remote once the target flies by. The NightHawk releases spikes the width of the road, making it impossible for the target vehicle to stay on the road. After the target vehicle has run over the NightHawk, officers can hit a button on the remote to retract the spike strip before back-up comes to apprehend the suspect. Check out the Pit-BUL and NightHawk in the videos below.