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Stockholm ambulances to alert motorists via radio

Researchers at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed an early warning system for motorists in the path of oncoming emergency vehicles.

Ambulances in the Swedish capital will soon be sporting the new warning system, titled EVAM, which interrupts any audio playing through the car’s audio system to broadcast an early warning message. This means that any in-car audio will stop immediately to broadcast a warning that an emergency vehicle is heading in their direction.

This is made possible by using radio transmissions from the EMS vehicle to hijack the nearest FM tuner signals.

According to one of the three students responsible for developing the solution, Florian Curinga, a signal is sent via the FM frequency along with a text message which gets displayed on the affected car’s radio. Curinga also established a startup known as H&E Solutions to take EVAM to market.

EMS vehicles will soon incorporate early warning systems in Stockholm

“Often drivers have only a few seconds to react and give way to emergency vehicles,” said Curinga in a press release.

One of Caringa’s academic partners, Mikael Erneberg, who studies industrial engineering, also commented on the warning time of EVAM. “The optimal warning time is at least 10 to 15 seconds. We want to catch motorists’ attention at an early stage, and mitigate stress that impairs road safety.”

As long as the radio is on, the broadcasted voice message will be received. Unlike the conventional warning systems such as sirens and lights, EVAM anticipates the speed of the traffic and broadcasts the message as far as it needs to according to how the traffic is moving. For example, if traffic is slow-moving, the message will be broadcasted earlier to give motorists a proper warning time.

“It fulfils three functions: improving accessibility for first responders, improving road safety and make the working environment in transport better for vulnerable professions,” Curinga concluded.

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