New dashboard signal will warn drivers of nearby emergency vehicles
Drivers are to be given dashboard warnings of approaching emergency vehicles as part of a plan to boost response times. It’s hoped that police cars, fire engines and ambulances will soon be provided with transponders based on GPS that will enable them to communicate with other vehicles. This will mean motorists being alerted to approaching emergency vehicles, being told where they are and where they are heading.
The new technology has been unveiled as part of UK Autodrive, an autonomous driving technology project with government backing. UK Autodrive has worked with a number of leading motoring companies including Jaguar Land Rover and Ford. The innovative technology is being designed to give drivers a better idea of where sirens are coming from.
Peter Allington, the West Midlands Fire Service community risk reduction officer, said his service had a five-minute attendance time for responding to emergency scenarios. He said the technology would enable the fire service to get the job more safely, more quickly and could help save lives.
Ford has demonstrated new car-to-car signals designed to warn motorists when another vehicle is coming towards them at T-junctions, whilst Jaguar Land Rover has showed an SUV model making its way across a closed course autonomously. The vehicle stopped at junctions and red lights, pulling away on its own. Trials of driverless cars on public roads are scheduled to take place later this year. The Autodrive project has also included plans to offer real-time traffic information. The first public road trials will take place later in 2017.
Though vehicles that speak to each other are a big part of the driverless revolution, a human still needs to be behind the wheel currently. Up to 40 self-driving pavement-based ‘pods’ are to be introduced in pedestrianised parts of Milton Keynes.
UK Autodrive project director Tim Armitage said the completion of the proving ground trials was a big milestone for the project and that it was now looking forward to unveiling new technologies in Coventry and Milton Keynes. Mr Armitage said UK Autodrive foresaw vast benefits in road safety, access to transport and traffic slow once the technology was widely available.
Embracing driverless technology
Driven, a new consortium of British companies aims to test driverless cars on motorways in 2019. A legislative framework for driverless cars was included in the Queen’s Speech and there are now plans for car insurance rules to be updated so driverless vehicles can be treated in the same way as conventional ones. There have been significant advancements in the technology enabling cars to become more autonomous over recent years and all major manufacturers have started to embrace driverless technology, working on motorway cruise control and self-parking facilities. Research carried out by the government says the automated vehicle market may be worth £28 billion by 2035.
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