Drivers to receive approaching ambulance signals

A dashboard signal which warns motorists of nearby emergency vehicles is to become a reality, thanks to a government-backed initiative.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Ford are the major manufacturers involved in the UK Autodrive autonomous driving project, which will alert drivers when ambulances, fire engines and police cars are approaching.

Drivers to receive approaching ambulance signals

It is hoped the GPS-based live updates will remove confusion and improve emergency response times across the country.

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Emerging technology continues to be at the forefront of road safety. Earlier this month it was revealed that Apple is to launch a safe driving mode for iPhones when users update to the iOS11 software later this year.

When the new feature is activated, all notifications are silenced and the screen switches off, allowing smartphone users to dedicate their full attention to the road ahead.

As part of the UK Autodrive scheme, emergency vehicles would be fitted with GPS-equipped transponders that can ‘talk’ to other vehicles. Drivers will receive these signals via their dashboards, including information on the location and travel direction of the nearby emergency vehicle.

It is hoped that removing the uncertainty about where a siren is coming from and helping make drivers more aware of emergency vehicles will improve response times.

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Speaking about the impact of such technology, West Midlands Fire Service community risk reduction officer Peter Allington said: “[We] have a five-minute attendance time to respond to emergency situations. With that five minutes, if it allows us to get through the traffic more quickly it means we can get to the job more safely, and it might help us to save lives.”

Both Ford and JLR are heavily involved in the development of autonomous technology.

Ford has previously demonstrated its own inter-car signals, which have the capability to warn a driver approaching a T-junction of another vehicle coming towards them.

Jaguar Land Rover meanwhile has shown one of its SUV models driving along a closed course autonomously. The vehicle was able to stop at red lights and junctions before pulling away on its own.

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