On my way back to home from office a week back, I witnessed an ambulance that was stuck in road-traffic quite a distance from the traffic signal and as it appears, it took sometime before the traffic warden could notice the situation and clear traffic route for the ambulance. That made me think of possible Internet of Things (IoT) based solutions to this problem.
I worked with one of our graphics intern, Faiza Farooqi here at Microsoft Innovation Center, Lahore to create visual illustration of a few possible solutions to this problem and she did a brilliant job (in my opinion). I’m sure that various sophisticated solution would already be operational in first world countries, some being similar or exactly what I propose here, however hoping it helps someone out there, here's how,
The Problem Statement: An ambulance stuck in the traffic
The ambulance generates a Bluetooth emergency beacon signal that can be heard by other listening devices.
Envision each vehicle manufactured with a Bluetooth device that’s always listening to potential beacons of emergency and rebroadcasts that to other listening vehicles till an answer to a beacon is not made or timeout occurs.
The roadside can also contain a network of sensor all the way to the traffic signals that listen for emergency beacons and responds by turning traffic lights on/off.
Contagious Discovery using Camera
This is possibly the least intelligent and viable approach where a camera attached on top of a traffic signal is looking for potential ambulance lights however, I still convinced myself to get this part of the post.
Perhaps as a next step, I'll wait for a free weekend to write an article of Bluetooth communication using Raspberry Pi 3. 🙂