The NYPD Can Now Shoot GPS Trackers at Your Car

Yesterday the New york Police Department launched its latest set of high tech police equipment. We New Yorkers will soon come face to face with robot dogs, Daleksand something new: a pneumatic gun that can fire a sticky GPS tracker at a moving vehicle.

In case you missed it:

The launcher is called the Guardian-HX, made by a company called StarChase. It aims to create an alternative to standard police chase, allowing cops to remotely track a fleeing vehicle without sending a squad of interceptors to follow it. But, in the hands of a ministry notorious for his surveillance abusesthe presence of any new tracking technology is worrisome.

Two GPS trackers from the StarChase GPS Tag Attachment System are pictured during a press conference in Times Square announcing new high-tech policing technology on April 11, 2023 in Manhattan, New York. The StarChase GPS Beacon Attachment System launches a GPS tracker that is pulled from a gun or police vehicle and sticks to a vehicle. The police then track the vehicle via the tracker, eliminating the need for a dangerous pursuit.
Photo: Barry Williams for NY Daily News (Getty Images)

The Guardian-HX launcher is based on an AR-15 rifle. The Guardian’s lower receiver—the part of the pistol that contains the stock, pistol grip, trigger assembly, safety switch, and “magazine”—is interchangeable with any other AR-style rifle. (Amusingly, since the lower receiver of the AR is the part that contains its serial number, these can legally count as AR-15s.) These accessories are also compatible with each other, except for two : the internal trigger assembly and the magazine.

That’s because, in the Guardian, the trigger isn’t a trigger, and the magazine isn’t a magazine. The trigger itself is more of a button, an electronic system that activates the release of pressurized gas to propel the GPS projectile. The charger is actually a battery.

GUARDIAN HX – Handheld GPS Launcher

All of this technology makes for a single-shot launcher capable of firing an adhesive-tipped GPS tracker before needing to reload its barrel. This projectile travels at a claimed speed of 37 miles per hour and has a direct range of 35 feet – although the company claims that, with a bowit can theoretically reach 60 feet.

Once the GPS tag is stuck to a vehicle, it pings StarChase with its location every two to five seconds. StarChase calls the Guardian a “less lethal” tool – which makes one wonder what would be be fatal to a motor vehicle, as the Guardian is not intended for use on people.

According to New York Times, the NYPD invested $19,500 in the Guardian-HX business. Jalopnik contacted StarChase to ask exactly what the NYPD gets for that money, and whether the company will charge the police department any additional fees beyond the original price (for example, to provide tracking data), but StarChase didn’t. did not respond by press time.

The NYPD has a long history of abuse surveillance technology, and Mayor Eric Adams has now ensured the department has even more sophisticated surveillance equipment. Surely, only good things will come out of it.

Leave a Comment