Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Car Horns Warn Against Natural Disasters

Date:
August 11, 2009
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
In the past, sirens howled to warn the population against floods, large fires or chemical accidents. Today, however, there is no extensive warning system in Germany, as most sirens were dismantled after the Cold War.

Car horns warn against natural disasters.
Credit: Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

In the past, sirens howled to warn the population against floods, large fires or chemical accidents. Today, however, there is no extensive warning system in Germany, as most sirens were dismantled after the Cold War. Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis INT in Euskirchen want the population to be warned by car horns in the future.

In Batman’s hometown of Gotham City, a gigantic searchlight projects the Bat signal into the sky in case of disaster to alarm the superhero and the population. 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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Car Horns Warn Against Natural Disasters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720083423.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2009, August 11). Car Horns Warn Against Natural Disasters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720083423.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Car Horns Warn Against Natural Disasters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720083423.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: No Nation Gets Pass on Climate Change

Obama: No Nation Gets Pass on Climate Change

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) — In a forceful appeal for international cooperation on limiting carbon pollution, President Barack Obama warned world leaders at the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday that the globe's climate is changing faster than efforts to address it. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A day after over 100,000 people marched against climate change, more than 1,000 activists blocked parts of Manhattan's financial district. Over 100 people, including a person wearing a white polar bear suit, were arrested Monday night. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins