Ambulances In Sweden Can Now Jam Radios To Warn Drivers More Quickly

Technology / 10 Comments

There's no way to escape the noise of the siren now.

Mikael Erneberg, an engineering student at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, is the adult version of one of those students that ask the teacher if there is any homework assigned at the end of the day, much to the dismay of their classmates hoping the teacher forgot. However, this is a good thing because according to Auto Express, Erneberg and his classmates' affinity with following the rules has brought a new device to fruition that helps emergency responders out a bit.

The piece of technology works by jamming radios of motorists in traffic when an ambulance or other emergency response vehicle is approaching and instead plays a warning over the radio so that drivers can be on the alert and get out of the way. As Erneberg puts it, "Often drivers have only a few seconds to react and give way to emergency vehicles. 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." In cars with applicable technology, the broadcast device can even display a warning message on the infotainment screen telling drivers to get out of the way.

The obvious benefits to this are that it clears a path for emergency responders more quickly than a siren can, ensuring that someone's life gets saved more quickly. "It fulfills three functions: improving accessibility for first responders, improving road safety, and making the working environment in transport better for vulnerable professions," said Erneberg. To ensure that the system is truly effective in capturing attention, the team of engineering students ensured that it reserves the ability to interrupt CD players and Bluetooth devices in case a driver has the stereo going but is not listening to radio. The tech will roll out in Stockholm during a trial period and is expected to go mainstream in Sweden later this year.

If this becomes the norm across the globe, we can only imagine the Orwellian implications it would have for autonomous vehicles who could bend to the will of Big Brother. After all, the Fast and Furious series would be fairly boring if the crew kept having their self-driving rides pull them over and surrender each speedster to the authorities anytime they depressed a gas pedal too far.

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