Connected cars are a resource in emergencies. The DRIVE SAFELY WITH PILOT app takes advantage of advanced emergency alerting features (called IPAWS) now supported by the government and alert originators. The best resource in an emergency is local AM and FM radio and the app provides simple access to news radio.

The United States' Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) provides a critical infrastructure for sending National and Local Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather alerts, and other safety information to the populace. We Americans spend a lot of time in our cars. Providing a mechanism for Connected Vehicles to safely and reliably receive Emergency Alerts will help increase the safety and preparedness of our communities.

In addition to delivering Emergency Alerts to the Smart Car, it will also be very beneficial to provide additional safety features to drivers and passengers.

What it does

A custom (Node.js) server processes a standard EAS Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) alert and pushes an alert in real time to the car. The car then shows the alert and recites the message to the passengers. Buttons on the Emergency Alert allow the user to tune to a local AM/FM News Radio Station and also to view relevant information such as a weather map.

In addition to processing Emergency Alerts, the application also provides important safety features for the passengers:

  • Call or Navigate to the nearest Hospital
  • Tune to local News Stations
  • Tune to local Weather Stations
  • Call the local police number or 911
  • Set the car in "Emergency Mode", where it locks the doors, flashes horn, and calls 911 (locking and honking are pending available APIs)

How we built it

We built the server using Node.js and the client using plain old JavaScript.

Challenges we ran into

We originally implemented the client and server with websockets, which worked well on the emulator. On the actual cars, we found that websockets are not yet fully supported. So, with GM developer help, we switched to an alternative approach.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We developed a real-time alerting system for the car. This would be replaced with a notification system when GM offers it. We also integrated deeply with the radio, providing navigation buttons and querying for meta data from our server and from the GM APIs.

What we learned

Debugging on real devices is super important!

What's next for Driving Safely with PILOT

We hope to work more closely with GM to bring these and other radio-enhanced safety features to the public.

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