Cerence Inc. recently introduced Cerence Emergency Vehicle Detection (EVD), the latest new product in the Cerence Drive technology and solutions portfolio.
Cerence EVD integrates with the in-car assistant to alert drivers of approaching emergency vehicles so they can adapt their driving accordingly.
“Every driver has experienced that moment of panic after hearing or seeing an approaching emergency vehicle, especially if they were caught off-guard because they had the music turned up or were distracted,” said Stefan Ortmanns, EVP and general manager, core automotive, Cerence. “We’ve developed Cerence EVD to address this issue – and help ensure that drivers remain safe and informed on the road, a critical piece of the in-car experience as vehicles become increasingly autonomous.”
Cerence recently surveyed more than 1,500 U.S. consumers to understand how they use technology to navigate their surroundings in the car. When asked how in-car technology could best improve their driving experience in the future, nearly half of respondents (44%) said they are looking for greater assistance during stressful driving situations.
In addition, a recent Cerence DRIVE Lab study investigated drivers’ expected uses and perspectives on siren detection. The research found drivers welcoming this type of innovation, with 67% of participants preferring to be notified immediately when a siren is detected and wanting all other audio in the vehicle turned down. Participants said siren detection would be most valuable when there is loud audio inside or outside of the car, in heavy traffic situations and in suburban/urban settings. They also want to know where the siren is, the direction it’s going and how far away it is.
Cerence EVD can be implemented without the need for additional hardware, as it uses existing microphones that are part of the vehicle’s interior design. It works by utilizing the distinct sound structure inherent to emergency-siren signals to achieve reliable recognition of the source and the direction from which the siren is approaching. This includes varying types of sirens from various emergency vehicles (fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, etc.) from multiple countries, accounting for different styles of sirens.
Once a siren is identified, the volume of the radio or other media inside the vehicle is lowered, and the driver is notified via the car’s visual and audio infotainment system. Additionally, by using acoustic echo cancellation to remove the music playback from the microphone signals, Cerence ensures reliable siren detection and quick driver notification, even if a driver is listening to a song that includes sirens or other sounds utilized by emergency vehicles, according to the company.