It will make life easier for fire truck and ambulance drivers.
Stellantis is in the midst of testing two future safety features in Michigan, and both have huge promise in the automotive world. One is made for protecting pedestrians and the other is for protecting drivers, and the emergency vehicles that share the road with them. Both rely on V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communication, a technology Audi is also developing.
"Greater connectivity speeds, improved hardware and expanded software expertise have opened new opportunities for Stellantis with safety systems being one of the many areas we focus on," said Mamatha Chamarthi, head of software business and product management. "Through smart and strategic partnerships, we will capitalize on next-generation systems and prove out the technology."
The first bit, which Stellantis says is closer to production than the second, is a new advanced warning system for emergency vehicles. I know today we call this "a siren," but this tech would notify drivers that ambulances, fire trucks or other roadway hazards are approaching, hopefully while you still have time to change course. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a line of traffic with an ambulance trying to squeeze through.
That system was suggested by a Stellantis employee during one of the company's innovation challenges, where any employee can bring an idea to management. The first tests of this system will be on company-owned, late model Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram vehicles with the Uconnect infotainment system. The metro Detroit-based project will measure the effectiveness of the process, and the impact on driver safety. Pending the results, Stellantis says, it may develop the tech commercially.
The second test is being conducted at University of Michigan's Mcity Test Facility, before moving to the Detroit area, with cooperation from the Michigan Department of Transportation. It uses Multi-access Edge Computing or MEC, which allows a vehicle to "quickly make decisions at the point where data is collected." That point being the car.
That means through V2X on a 5G cellular connection it can use info from its own cameras and sensors, as well as info from connected, on-site cameras and sensors to decide whether to cross an intersection or make a turn (or just slam on the brakes). The system can communicate its intentions as well as safety risks to pedestrians and approaching vehicles.
Stellantis is working with the 5G Automotive Association partners on the tech including Intel, Verizon, Harman, Altran, Telus and American Tower. The initial test will feature a pair of 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles with Uconnect. Like the emergency vehicle system, that's where drivers will get the information.