Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Dodge, and Fiat owners, too.
Over-the-air updates are a wonderful thing. The technology, pioneered by Tesla, has now become standardized across the auto industry. Legacy automakers like Stellantis, parent company of Jeep, Dodge, and Ram, send out OTAs on a fairly regular basis and now another one is on the way. This time, however, it's potentially life-saving.
According to the Detroit Free Press, later this month approximately 4 million drivers will receive a free OTA update called the Emergency Vehicle Alert System (EVAS). Set to be offered initially in North America only (a larger rollout to all of Stellantis' 14 global brands is possible at a later date), EVAS will provide drivers with alerts indicating an emergency vehicle with its flashers lit is nearby and they should be on the lookout. There have been troubling reports of emergency responders getting hit by moving vehicles with sometimes fatal consequences.
Sadly, 63 emergency responders were killed last year alone in these types of crashes. That's a new record and Stellantis aims to help lower that figure. The idea for EVAS, which will arrive in vehicles like the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 shortly, first came about back in 2020 during a Chrysler employees meeting.
"An employee was driving with her kids," said Mamatha Chamarthi Stellantis head of software business and product management. "It was noisy in the vehicle. She didn't hear an approaching emergency vehicle and was nearly involved in an accident. She asked why we couldn't have an alert system that shows the kind of emergency vehicle, and the direction it's coming from?"
The automaker wasted no time in designing such a system by utilizing existing connectivity hardware. It also teamed up with Safety Cloud creator HAAS Alert, a company that works with over 1,000 emergency fleet responders in North America.
Chamarthi personally tested a prototype version of the system in Wrangler 4xe last summer. "The system knows the location of the first responder, and it knows where our vehicle is," she said. EVAS will send a message to the driver on the instrument panel or touchscreen informing them an emergency vehicle is nearby and which specific direction it's in. The system also indicates to drivers when emergency vehicles are arriving from behind.
More details about EVAS will be announced later this week at CES in Las Vegas. So far, Stellantis is the only automaker to offer something like this and it could become industry-wide. HAAS confirmed it's in talks with other automakers about incorporating a similar advanced warning system.