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Emergency Vehicle Proximity Alert System



Motor vehicle injuries are a main cause of morbidity and mortality for first responders (police, fire, ambulance/EMT, and military), and delays in emergency response. Intersections are a frequent location for these incidents, with emergency vehicles approaching at a high rate of speed, often against traffic signals. Despite the use of sirens and flashing lights, other vehicles are not always aware that they are on a collision course with an emergency vehicle. Increasingly, many drivers may be distracted from the use of personal wireless electronic devices and are unaware of the sirens or flashing lights of first responders.

Project Goal:  The goal of this project is to develop technologies to interface with personal wireless systems. These technology interfaces would enable first responders and other emergency vehicles to send out wireless messages (i.e., alerts to cell phones, GPS devices, etc.), located in private motor vehicles in the immediate vicinity of the responder. In addition to a proximity alert, this technology could also send wireless signals to vehicle based GPS devices showing location and direction of movement of emergency vehicles in relation to the private vehicle’s GPS device.

Impact:  Private driver situational awareness is critical to avoid vehicle crashes and related injuries associated with emergency vehicles transiting to or from emergency incident locations. The widespread use of wireless devices by drivers of motor vehicles will continue to increase as new technologies are developed in this market sector. Technologies that alert drivers of the proximity of emergency vehicles will reduce both morbidity and mortality of first responders as well as the general public. This technology will also increase response time and may result in more lives saved.

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