Smart emergency response

Next generation first response vehicles will have greater integration with smart, technology P

olice and emergency vehicles are set to undergo a technology change that will include augmented reality, mobile surveillance and remote device control, according to transport and connectivity

software specialist, VNC Automotive. Drawing on emerging trends in consumer vehicles, the UK software company is already in discussion with forces and conversion specialists as it integrates new systems into existing infrastructure. According to Philip Handschin, technical consultant at VNC Automotive, there is already a focus on app-based approaches, but there is now a shift towards exploring how technology such as remote control functions, the relaying of remote surveillance footage to a car’s dashboard and even augmented reality can be used. “However, all this functionality needs to remain intuitive and easily integrated with the large format touch screens that are becoming commonplace in today’s vehicles,” he says. With so many vehicles already having highly

effective entertainment, navigation and comfort control systems, VNC Automotive can tap into them, using large format touch screens and the existing hardware for communication and connectivity, but add functions that empower police and emergency services to allow them to work more effectively and make better-informed decisions.

INFORMATION HIGHWAYS The status of team vehicles, including air support, and other emergency services, is vital, as is getting somewhere quickly taking into account traffic and other delays. All this means that information presented to the driver and passenger in a form that is quickly assimilated is vital. “The benefits that augmented reality can provide are obvious when considering navigation, call status and database information. It also means the driver need not take their eye off the road, and can make decisions with fewer distractions,” says Handschin. This includes technology like ANPR (automatic number plate recognition), where the instantaneous

16 /// Testing & Test Houses /// June 2021

notification of illegal and stolen vehicles and banned drivers allows action to be taken quickly and effectively, removing issues from roads.

❱❱ Standard in-vehicle infotainment equipment is used as the basis for specialist communication and surveillance technology for emergency vehicles, above; systems installed in vehicles can be shared with control centres to help with co-ordinating emergency response teams, inset; Philip Handschin of VNC Automotive, below, believes in-car technology should remain intuitive and easy to use for it to be effective

SMART DEVICES With a host of connectivity services built into cars at the factory as standard, allowing a personal smart device to sync with a vehicle is an obvious step, but VNC Automotive can go beyond what standard consumer systems offer. More than just being able to make a call, its IVI connectivity software includes options like the automatic locking of the car when away from the vehicle, the ability to activate remote functions like sirens, cameras and PA systems, or even transmit location information. Looking ahead this line of thinking allows for the future integration of wearable tech, that can cover biometrics, personal security and incident management.

REMOTE CONTROLS With so much technology in each vehicle, their function moves beyond transport and they effectively become intelligence gathering hubs - passing valuable first-hand data back to a central command centre and allowing the coordination of teams and other services. VNC Automotive’s products already allow command centres to connect with vehicles in real time, controlling certain systems such as sirens and providing crucial navigation information to occupants. Extending this idea, video and other data can be transmitted and the live feed from every vehicle used to provide a valuable net of surveillance around a serious incident. Recorded and indexed, this could prove vital as evidence for later convictions.

VNC Automotive is working with British car

conversion specialists, using its experience in the USA, where specialist vehicles are factory built rather than converted. “In the UK, we’re the bridge in the middle, working directly with installers as well as operators to understand their needs and making it cost effective,” concludes Handschin. T&TH

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