Synthesis of Technologies for Emergency Responders
The emergence of Connected Vehicle (CV) and wearable technology applications is expected to have a profound impact on responders, the public, and commercial vehicle operators. Technical innovations are being driven through federal rule making, advancements in standards-based communications protocols, and market forces that intend to capitalize on high value/low cost safety systems. The impending ruling from the National Highway Safety Administration that will require automakers to begin incorporating minimum levels of connectivity into future production of vehicles will accelerate the rapid diffusion of in-vehicle and wearable technologies.
As Connected Vehicle technology enters the public and fleet vehicle markets, there will be greater demand to implement and integrate in-vehicle technologies into emergency response fleets and with associated data systems. The intention is to embed these low-cost systems in vehicles to reduce the risk of collisions while improving the efficient use of limited transportation infrastructure. These systems are expected to raise the situational awareness of vehicle operators by providing the capability to travel more safely on congested and open roadways. Connected Vehicle applications such as collision awareness, blind spot monitoring, lane/roadway departure warning, automated crash notification, and smart routing navigation systems will yield benefits for both the public and responders.
As interest has grown in Connected Vehicle technologies, there has also been considerable growth in consumer interest in the wearable technology market. The convergence of Connected Vehicles and wearable technologies is likely. The most noticeable rapid and pervasive market expansion in the development and use of wearables has been in the physical fitness and connected consumer environments. The recent introduction of advanced wearable technologies, such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit devices, creates even further drive to develop and deploy wearable safety-related applications. Wearable technologies provide cross-cutting capabilities with benefits to multiple private, commercial, and public safety objectives.
Wearable technologies focused on the emergency response community have increased in popularity as practitioners and solution providers have recognized the value that these commercial systems have for responder life safety and incident management objectives. Wearable sensors, communications platforms, and warning devices may improve the mitigation of risk, preparedness for critical incidents, response to incidents, and recovery from natural and manmade events that require responder intervention. Since there are numerous advantages to integrating wearable technologies available today, the same approach will be applied to wearable devices that could be integrated with connected and other in-vehicle technologies.
Building a consortium of technically conversant practitioners is essential for Connected Vehicle and wearable technologies to have a meaningful impact on public safety. Practitioners should develop a clear and realistic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of these technologies. An educated community of practitioners will offer innovative and practical strategies to develop and deploy emerging Connected Vehicle and wearable applications to improve safety.
To facilitate the process of informing and educating practitioners, a comprehensive taxonomy of in-vehicle and wearable technologies was developed with supporting instructions to serve as a platform for learning and operational research. The nontechnical taxonomy defines, describes, and recognizes integration requirements that can be applied to new technologies to support public safety operations. Accompanying this taxonomy are fact sheets on specific Connected Vehicle and wearable technologies of high interest to the responder community and a tool kit for marketing in-vehicle and wearable technology capabilities to the practitioner community. These resources can be leveraged individually or collectively in order to raise awareness and inspire innovation to yield more effective and economical solutions. The anticipated benefits these Connected Vehicle and wearable applications will yield are closely aligned with the responder community’s desire to achieve the objectives of life safety, incident stabilization, and protection of property.