MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: John G. Watson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 15, 1998
NEW TECHNOLOGY GIVES MOTORISTS AN EARLY WARNING
A new traffic technology can warn motorists quickly of rapidly approaching
emergency vehicles and trains. The Emergency Vehicle Early Warning Safety
System, or E-ViEWS, developed with the assistance of the Technology
Affiliates Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, is
particularly timely given the increasing incidence of police chases.
The system equips emergency vehicles with transponders that communicate
via microwave with receivers on large visual displays deployed on the
mastarms above the centers of intersections. As the vehicles approach the
intersections, signal lights turn yellow, then red, for cross-traffic, and
approaching drivers also view flashing vehicle symbols on the visual displays.
These active displays, linked to the receivers, inform drivers of the
direction from which emergency traffic is approaching or departing the
intersection. The vehicle symbols appear to move across the displays,
synchronized with the actual emergency vehicles' movements.
"More than 156,000 accidents involving emergency vehicles occurred at
intersections in U.S. cities from the mid-1980s to 1995 alone," explained
Jim Davidson, president and CEO of E-Lite Limited of Agoura Hills, CA,
which developed the system.
"Emergency vehicles present a serious traffic hazard to themselves, other
vehicles and pedestrians while passing against cross traffic through an
intersection, causing multi-million dollar lawsuits against cities and
states," he added.
Davidson, a former marketing executive, has first-hand experience with the
dangers of high-speed vehicles: He was driving his car once when it was
almost broadsided by a fire truck at a Los Angeles intersection.
Through the Technology Affiliates Program, large and small businesses can
work with JPL engineers to solve specific tasks. Upon joining this
innovative program, E-Lite was paired with JPL engineers with specialized
expertise to solve engineering design issues. These included not only
E-ViEWS' customized transponders, but also comprehensive designs which
blend with existing city communications infrastructures. E-ViEWS is now
being further refined with an eye toward installation of demonstration
models in large metropolitan areas.
The Technology Affiliates Program is just one of several JPL technology
transfer programs designed to bring the benefits of the space program to
American industry. For further information, visit the Commercial
Technology Program's Web site at http://techtrans.jpl.nasa.gov/tu.html
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology.
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[Editors please note: NASA Television will air a video file about E-Lite On
Monday, June 15, at noon, 3, 6, 9 p.m. and midnight EDT. NASA Television is
available on GE-2, transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, with
vertical polarization. Frequency is on 3880.0 megahertz, with audio on 6.8