Once again, a Palestinian gainfully employed by Israel has gone on a rampage trying to kill as many civilians as possible regardless of age, sex, infirmity, or beliefs. (An article including videos of the two attacks can be found here.) Is there any way to stop bulldozer attacks? Yes, there are simple and effective technological solutions.
One is called geo-fencing. Bulldozers can be equipped with GPS receivers and programmed to only allow the machines to be operated within specific geographic boundaries. The moment a bulldozer is driven beyond those boundaries its engine is shut down. GPS technology has been used quite effectively to thwart truck thieves—primarily by enabling law enforcement to determine their exact whereabouts—and geo-fencing has been proposed in the U.S. for all trucks carrying hazardous materials, ensuring they only follow permitted routes.
An even simpler solution is radio-fencing, widely used to keep dogs from straying outside their yards. In the bulldozer application, a low-power transmitter can be set up at the construction site. The bulldozer’s engine is automatically disabled whenever the machine strays beyond the transmitter’s range. This technology also allows management to manually disable bulldozers during breaks, emergencies, or after hours.
The cost of these solutions is easily justified. Bulldozers are expensive mobile assets, and they should be tracked for that reason alone. As we have seen, they can also be used by terrorists to cause numerous casualties and immense property damage.
Like all anti-terrorist technologies, these solutions can be circumvented. Terrorists could disable engine shut-down circuits. Or they could develop gadgets that fool the system by generating false signals. But there are numerous ways to make this very difficult. At some point, the terrorists will give up on bulldozers, and look for other opportunities to ply their murderous and destructive trade.