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Automatic HAZMAT crash notification

A section of highway in Virginia, USA will soon have a test system in place that will automatically notify authorities of an emergency situation. The system is an open architecture model of information, computing, communication, mapping, and related technologies that take crash or other emergency data from sources such as OnStar and ATX and instantaneously deliver the event information to all appropriate emergency responders such as police, fire, EMS, hospitals, and government. In the event of a HAZMAT incident, the information is matched with details about the truck, driver, and cargo. The program is headed by ComCARE , a national, non-profit alliance of over 70 organizations.

The device, includes a Global Position System (GPS) receiver to provide location information, an 'accelerometer' to measure impact of collision, a microprocessor to determine notification events, and a cellular radio and antenna for communications. The device can also be programmed with other features:

  • Vehicle notification and tracking if the vehicle is:
    • Stolen (currently used in North America)
    • Hijacked (via driver's distress signal)
    • Tampered with
  • Excessive speed notification
  • Remote control engine disable (to immobilize a stolen or hijacked vehicle)
  • Vehicle service diagnostics
  • Digital fence (notifies if vehicle exceeds a set geographical boundary)

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