5G and Public Safety

5G and Public Safety
October 16, 2019 16 Comments Uncategorized Jack Stephens

Safe Traffic Control – 5G and Public Safety

According to government-fleet.com, “Each year in the U.S., there are an estimated 6,500 accidents involving ambulances and about 300 police cruiser pursuits that lead to injuries or fatalities. Over a 10-year period, there were roughly 31,600 accidents involving fire vehicles.”

On October 2, 2019, Verizon and TomTom announced their collaborative project to make our roads safer. This program will make it safer for emergency vehicles responding to calls to navigate their route without danger of collision from other vehicles at intersections. Let’s see how this works when we combine 5G and public safety.

The Internet of Things

To address the problem of collisions between emergency vehicles and other traffic, TomTom, the company best known for its GPS directional systems, will team its High Definition Maps with Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network to provide up-to-the-second routing for fire, medical and police emergency vehicles attempting to make their runs safer and more efficient.

Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayImage by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Internet of Things involves the ability of electronic devices to communicate with each other. One example of this is having your cell phone act as a command center from which you can do a variety of things while away from home. Things like starting your car remotely, activating your home security system while away, adjusting the thermostat in the house, turning lights on or off, checking your bank balance and moving your finances around. Those are existing functions and many more are available now or soon will be. Machines talking to machines is what will make the Verizon/TomTom project work.

The Big Picture

A few years ago I was driving a new rental car on the I-270 beltway around Columbus, Ohio. I noticed that at times the car slowed down when another car was in the lane ahead of me. At first, I thought something was wrong with the car since it still slowed down even when I was attempting to give it more gas. It then dawned on me that the car was equipped with sensors to detect traffic ahead of me and to slow me down to keep an assured safe distance between us. Such features now are commonplace and are advancing more and more each year.

Now imagine an autonomous vehicle, equipped, as they must be, with multitudes of sensors to coordinate its movements with GPS and all the surrounding cars and trucks as well as other roadway obstructions such as people, animals, construction sites interrupting the way and various inanimate objects rolling into its path. Stalled vehicles, speeding vehicles, emergency vehicles – all become stimuli requiring a safe and instantaneous response.

Next, interlink all these autonomous vehicles so that they “talk” to each other, alerting each other to their own presence, speed, route, etc. and melding this information with all the other objects, such as “older” style human operator cars, as unpredictable as they can be.

5g and pubic safety

Now add to this the emergency vehicle on its way to save a life or stop a criminal activity. How can the police car/fire truck/ambulance make its way safely to its destination? By having the Internet of Things operating to provide sensory information from each vehicle combined with visual imagery from surrounding traffic cameras and coordinated with the traffic light signals for every intersection. This intercommunication is the key to providing the safe transit of emergency vehicles from their stations through traffic and intersections and to arriving safely at their destinations.

The 5G Connection

In order for the above scenario to work as it should, it is necessary for all this data to be gathered in real time and to coordinate with traffic signals and other control devices (including the autonomous cars I mentioned) as instantaneously as possible.

This is where 5G comes in. With its huge bandwidth and capacity, all the data can be received from the maps, cameras and other input sources without delay. It can then be read, organized and prioritized into a proper response sequence to be incorporated into “the big picture” described above. 5G’s extremely low latency means that the incoming data and the outgoing command stream will not be plagued by any large lag between stimulus (incoming data) and response (outgoing commands to stop traffic or to clear a path).

Although all the details have not been made public, the response may include radio signals sent to autonomous vehicles

telling them to stop or remain stopped, traffic lights directed to halt all traffic while the emergency vehicles pass through or a combination of such actions.

5G and Public SafetyImage by Computerizer from Pixabay

If your life or the life of your loved one was on the line, if your home was the one on fire, if your business was the one being burglarized, wouldn’t you want the fastest possible response from the public safety departments who serve you? Wouldn’t it matter to you whether help got to you safely instead of being halted by an accident? If you were in traffic through which the rescue equipment was trying to navigate, wouldn’t you want to be able to take action in advance and avoid an accident?

Can you appreciate this innovation and the increased safety it will provide? As Jeff Frantz, Verizon’s Executive Director of Location Technology said on TomTom’s website, “By harnessing the power of the Verizon 5G network and its massive bandwidth, super-fast speeds and ultra-low latency, this collaboration with TomTom will help us to create a next-generation service that can enable safer intersections for all.”

As I have mentioned often on my site, 5G is far more than just a new feature for cell phones. It will touch and change so many more areas of our lives. Stay tuned for more.

I have been talking about 5G and public safety right now, but if you are considering a 5G cell phone purchase, click here.

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  1. 1

    Jan

    Hi Jack,

    thank you for the updates, I didn’t realise that there are now cars on the road that have the foresight to slow you down, what an awesome idea.

    Hopefully it does reduce the number of accidents, and help the emergency responses to get to where they need to be safely going forward.

    As you quite rightly point out in your article if my life or the life of my loved one was on the line, or if my home was the one on fire, or we was the one being burglarised, I would definitely want the fastest possible response from the police, fire or ambulance departments to arrive safely and not be involved in an accident themselves. 
    So yes I do appreciate this innovation and the increased safety it will provide.

    will keep checking back for more updates as you research and report on.

    Thanks

    Jan 

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      Thanks, Jan. The more I research this subject the more applications I see developing. The one that will most commonly be used for the everyday person is our cell phones, eventually. But this technology is being put to use all over the place, in businesses and industries that understand the boon to their growth and success. I appreciate your comments.

      Reply
  2. 1

    Donny

    The advancement in technology that is in this article is almost just like what we see in the movies and hard to imagine this is really going to happen soon. The release of 5G cell phones is bringing about major changes and thank goodness this is going to help make sure that there are less accidents and less fires and less dangers caused by machinery since they can be monitored from wherever the person is. I’m really looking forward to see all these safety measures come place, thank you this is really informative.

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      I appreciate your thoughts on the subject, Donny. I hadn’t even considered the possible use of cell phones in the data mix. Perhaps they will use that too.

      Reply
  3. 1

    Wayne

    While I can get on board with all the benefits that 5G is going to bring us, I still have a fear that we may be trying to move ahead with this too quickly in the same manner that governments want us to adopt green technology at a faster rate.

    We are still going to have many vehicles on the road that don’t have this technology and it will be many years before all of us can afford to purchase autos with 5G technology.  Some of us will never be able to which leads to another issue of people getting left behind as things move forward.

    What about the cars that are not “Autonomous”? What happens when they stop for emergency vehicles, (or maybe they don’t because of a glitch), and older vehicles are still on the road?

    I’m all for getting greener and better at what and how we do things but I worry.  It’s not just the 5G stuff but governments that want everyone to cross over to EV’s, in our area they want to do that by 2030-35.

    Too much too fast is not good in spite of all the benefits that might come from it.  Tha’s all I’m saying.

    Wayne

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      Hi, Wayne. I am sorry to hear you live in one of “those” areas. Personally, I am not a fan of the push for “greenness”. But let’s leave my bias aside. 

      Realistically, there are areas of the world that may not ever use the specific technology I am writing about in this post, but where it is utilized, I am sure allowances will be made for older cars and other non-connected objects. 

      That element of the equation must be considered regardless. That is why, in the areas where this procedure will be used, other more passive means of detection such as intersection cameras and other area cameras will be part of the data pool. I am not at all in favor of legislation to force people to comply with advances in technology. 

      When cars started replacing horses, both shared the roads and sometimes that is still the case. But we make the roads for the cars. Not for the horses. They are free to use them, but with allowances made for the “new” transportation, the cars. That is a poor analogy, but I hope you see my point. Thanjks for your comments. 

      Reply
  4. 1

    Jessie

    Hey thank you for the awesome post!  I’m pretty excited about 5G, and I did not realize how much it can change things.  I am glad to see that it has the potential of stopping crashes involved with emergency vehicles.  I’m wondering how much this will effect the autonomous car industry, if at all. 

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      It will 100% affect it. Every vehicle will have to be accounted for, and autonomous cars will especially need to have their responses coordinated with all the other factors going on at the intersection involved. And with some human driven vehicles still being on the road, their movements and locations will have to be factored into the responses of the surrounding autonomous vehicles as well as crosswalks and traffic lights. Quite an undertaking, but now being made possible.

      Reply
  5. 1

    Igor

    Accidents are happening all over the world.
    Making the streets safer is a very comprehensive task, due to the huge increasements in vehicles on them.

    As you mentioned in your article sometimes even the public service vehicles have their problems when rushing to the place of accident.

    Knowing that there is a technology available that can resolve such issues is a great way of resolving such issues. It can save many lives. Also, it is great to know such devices exist on the market,
    Thanks for such info.

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      Yes, indeed, this will enhance safety. It is still in the planning stages since there are a lot of elements to consider and to coordinate, but I imagine the larger metro areas will adopt the technology first since that is where it is needed most. I thank you for writing.

      Reply
  6. 1

    Alblue

    Thanks for bringing out about this topic. I also glad that 5G is just a not-so-far ahead technology for us. I hope there will be more gadgets that will enable this feature in near future. I can imagine how my and my loved ones’ life on the edge and we are in desperate need to get help as fast as possible. I’m considering to buy a 5G enabled smartphone soon, so I will check your recommendation. Thanks

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      I appreciate your thoughts on this subject. Yes, 5G will affect almost every area of life in almost every area of the world. As with any major change, it will happen fast in some places and slower in others. There may even be a few pockets of sparse population where it won’t ever come, or where it will not have a lot of influence, but for the huge majority of humanity, many benefits are in store. As far as getting a 5G phone goes, make sure you choose one that will be right for the area/country you live in. 

      Reply
  7. 1

    Andrew

    Hi, this is a great article.  I think anything that can improve safety especially road safety is to be welcomed.  The introduction of 5G will certainly make the communication much quicker and once autonomous vehicles become the norm then it will be essential.  

    I can’t wait to hear about other areas of life that will be improved with 5G

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      Thanks for your comments. Take a little tour over my site and you will see a few posts that address some of these areas. Then check back once in a while for more. There is a lot more to come. 5G will, indeed, change everything!

      Reply
  8. 1

    Paul

    Hi Jack,

    A lot of hype and expectation is building on 5G in the part of the world where I live because a few companies are planning to introduce it in 2021 or 2022. Also, many are protesting saying that 5G is not good for us etc. So I just wanted to do some research to know more information about 5G and your post is a greater help & time saver.

    I can tell you I have taken some great insights from this post and your article certainly made me think more on the subject.

    Safety is the first and top priority and I am blown-away with the increased safety 5G will provide. To be honest I just thought it’s just the next advanced feature for cell phones.

    This a very thorough and in-depth. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      You are welcome and thanks for your kind words. I understand how you thought 5G was just about cell phones because that is a common feeling. One of the main reasons I write the posts I do is to “flesh out” the many facets of 5G and educate people about how this is changing almost everything, from agriculture to industry to medicine to education.

      Reply

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