In-car system alerts drivers to the sound of sirens
It can certainly be a rattling experience for drivers, when they suddenly realize that the sound of an emergency vehicle's siren is coming from someplace nearby. Cerence's EVD system is designed to help, by hearing sirens before drivers do.
Standing for Emergency Vehicle Detection, EVD reportedly doesn't require the installation of any additional hardware within the car. Instead, it utilizes the microphones that are already present in the cabins of newer vehicles, which are used for purposes such as road-noise cancellation and stereo-sound optimization.
The EVD software, which is integrated into the car's existing driver-assist system, is able to differentiate between the sound of music or other audio being played within the vehicle, and the sound of sirens coming from outside. Not only can it ascertain the whereabouts of such sirens relative to itself, but it's also capable of identifying the type of emergency vehicle – within multiple countries – based on its siren style.
Once a siren is detected, EVD proceeds to silence the music (or phone call or whatnot), then notifies the driver via audio-visual warnings delivered on the car's infotainment system. A Cerence rep tells us that although those warnings currently just state that an emergency vehicle is approaching, the company is working on adding information regarding that vehicle's distance and direction.
Cerence EVD is being officially unveiled this week at CES in Las Vegas, and should be available in various third-party vehicles later this year. Google spinoff Waymo has previously developed a siren-detection system of its own, which it incorporated into its self-driving Chrysler minivans.