System and Apparatus of Enhancing Emergency Vehicle Warnings to Nearby Occupants of Automobiles, Trucks, Pedestrians, and the Like
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jul-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
When emergency vehicles are enroute, in most cases, their flashing lights and sirens are used to alert drivers to yield the right of way by moving over and/or stopping (especially at intersections) so that the emergency vehicle can pass or continue traveling in a safe manner. Often times, drivers do not see the flashing lights, nor hear the sirens (due to vehicle audio devices) until the emergency vehicle is very nearby. Disclosed is a system and apparatus to enhance the ability of occupants in a vehicle to determine that an emergency or law enforcement vehicle is nearby and enroute so that precautions can be taken, such as yielding the right of way in a much earlier time frame. This disclosure describes the use of two devices. 1) High Frequency, Low Power (HFLP) Transmitter to be used by emergency vehicles when they are mobile. 2) A HFLP Receiver integrated into audio devices installed in automobiles. The HFLP transmitter can be designed to transmit a simple audio tone with optionally encoded digital information. The function of the HFLP Receiver is two-fold. 1) The HFLP Receiver would mute the sound of any audio devices in a vehicle upon receiving the signal from the transmitter. 2) The HFLP Receiver additionally could continuously flash an internal light that is located either on the audio device, or in any conspicuous location in the automobile, thus immediately alerting the driver/user. This HFLP Receiver can be implemented in all automobile audio device designs, or retrofitted on already installed audio devices. This invention can easily be extended to any audio device. In an alternate embodiment of this disclosure, the HFLP receiver logic would contain preprogrammed canned digital voice messages that are played via the audio device when the HFLP signal is received. Alternatively, the HFLP receiver could be a stand-alone device that uses only a light source as the alert signal.