UK police developing device that can remotely shut down e-bike motors

UK police developing device that can remotely shut down e-bike motors
UK police developing device that can remotely shut down e-bike motors

The UK police force is currently developing a device that will be able to shut down e-bike and e-scooter motors remotely, when the rider is suspected of being involved in a crime.

The device, which will be housed in a backpack and requires a clear line of sight to work, uses electromagnetic rays to shut down the engine.

It could be in action soon, with an earliest expected rollout in the next few months, according to chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Gavin Stephens, although it is expected to be longer than that.

“Basically, it interferes with the electric motor, to trick the electric motor into thinking it is overheating,” Stephens said in a media briefing, as reported by the Guardian.

“It sends a signal to confuse the electric motor. All these electric motors apparently have an inbuilt safety system that if it thinks it’s overheating, it shuts down. At the minute, it’s like a ginormous backpack.”

According to the Guardianthe device is being developed by the Defense and Science Technology Lab, which falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense, and is one of multiple technological innovations in the works, although it’s not clear if any more of these are related to e- bikes or e-scooters.

Read more: Number of e-bike thefts in UK doubles in a year but decreases for bikes overall

Its development and potential deployment comes at a time when e-bike thefts are on the rise in the UK, with a 103% increase in 2023 compared to 2022. This is in sharp contrast to the downward trend for bikes overall, as thieves increasingly target more lucrative e-bikes with their more expensive price tags.

When deployed, it will presumably help to recover stolen e-bikes or bikes that are in the process of being stolen, although its primary aim is to target crimes involving e-bikes.

This purpose could even extend further in the future, according to Stephens, to include other motor vehicles.

“They were also telling me it has the potential to be useful with normal combustion engine vehicles,” he said.

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