In Germany, an extensive network of sirens was used in the past to warn the population against disasters: in case of forest fires, industrial accidents or a looming inundation of a part of town, civil protection agencies could trigger the loud and clear siren alarm, while detailed information was provided by radio and television.
However, after the end of the Cold War, most sirens were dismantled in the mid-nineties to be replaced by the satellite-based warning system SatWaS, which informs the population only via radio and television. But if TV and radio are switched off, the warning goes unheard.
In recent years, different individual solutions for warning systems have been developed. Cell-broadcast systems can send mass SMS messages to mobile phones. Smoke detectors, radio-controlled clocks and weather stations equipped with radio receivers can also trigger alarm. Despite the high distribution rate of some of these devices, it cannot be ensured that a warning reaches the entire population. Only individual persons or households would be warned, and only if the devices are on standby 24/7/365. Today, fire brigades and disaster protection agencies would rather want the sirens back. However, the resulting costs would amount to several 100 million Euros for German federal and state governments, which share the responsibility for civil protection.
In January, researchers of the INT applied for a patent of a technology which allows the horns of parked cars to be activated in case of disaster. The technology is based on the eCall emergency system, which new cars are going to be equipped with as from September 2010. The eCall system was developed at the initiative of the EU Commission to help reduce the number of road traffic fatalities. It consists of a GPS sensor and a mobile phone component, which is activated only in case of an accident (i.e. when the airbags are triggered) and which can transmit data (e.g. accident time, coordinates and driving direction of the vehicle) to an emergency call center.
The INT researchers found out that this infrastructure can also be used to warn the population. Once the cars are equipped with a radio receiver, their horns can be triggered in case of disaster. The receiver can be activated only by civil protection agencies. These might send e.g. the following signal to the vehicles: »To all vehicles that are equipped with the receiver and that are currently within the boundaries of the following GPS coordinates: If the engine is off, start sounding the horn!«
Dipl.-Ing. Guido Huppertz from the INT's Technology Analyses and Forecasts (TAV) department has worked on the system and explains the advantages of honking cars: »All hitherto suggested solutions such as mobile phones or smoke detectors only inform the respective device user. The entire population can only be informed if 100% are equipped with these devices.« The INT suggestion has a clear statistical advantage: a mere 14% of the registered vehicles are already sufficient to provide extensive alarming. »If all new vehicles are equipped with eCall from the end of next year, the warning system may be ready for use after an establishment phase of 2 to 4 years,« Huppertz predicts.
The new system is meant to complement rather than replace the other options. »The effort is restricted to the integration of a small electronic module into new vehicles« Huppertz states. »As far as the authorities are concerned, the necessary infrastructure is already available.«
Guido Huppertz | EurekAlert!
Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
NASA Goddard network maintains communications from space to ground
02.03.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences