Article originally published through Strategy Analytics and written by Roger Lanctot.
From being the automotive industry’s poster child for cyber vulnerability after the infamous Jeep hack nearly seven years ago, Stellantis has surged to the forefront of safety leadership with implementation of HAAS Alert’s Safety Cloud technology as part of its Emergency Vehicle Alert System (EVAS) already distributed wirelessly to more than four million Stellantis vehicles. The application alerts drivers of Stellantis vehicles alerts drivers to slow down and move over in the presence of approaching or parked emergency vehicles.
Delivered as an over-the-air software update to owners of 2018-and-newer Stellantis cars, trucks, and SUVs equipped with Uconnect 4 or 5 systems where owners have adopted the company’s safety and convenience data service, which costs $12.99/month. Until this move by Stellantis, the Safety Cloud alerts from HAAS Alert were only available via the Waze navigation app.
The Jeep hack and EVAS application download are connected as a result of Stellantis’ post-hack decision to widely deploy over-the-air software update technology. In fact, the capability of the Safety Cloud app goes well beyond emergency vehicle alerts – offering the potential for Stellantis to deploy future functional enhancements as they become available and at Stellantis’ discretion.
The HAAS Alert Safety Cloud application is populated with data from emergency vehicles. Working with manufacturers of fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars as well as the makers of the lightbars installed on the roofs of those vehicles, HAAS Alert has built a network of beacons capable of alerting drivers of passengers vehicles and the emergency responders themselves to the presence and movement of first responders.
When the driver of an emergency vehicle activates the lightbar, the location of the vehicle is communicated via a cellular modem to HAAS Servers which then broadcast the information – taking geo-fencing into account to exclude vehicles on the oppose side of divided highways. Drivers of passenger vehicles can receive the alerts via the Waze navigation app or Waze alerts through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Ford Motor Company’s SYNC 3 or, now, directly to Stellantis vehicles with Uconnect 4 or 5.
The HAAS Alert solution behind the Stellantis EVAS application is a vehicle-to-cloud-to-vehicle solution that is still evolving. It will ultimately be able to communicate a much wider variety of alerts and, in the future, will enable direct communications between vehicles.
The move by Stellantis to take the lead in adding the app to its in-dash platform comes as highway fatalities are on the rise from car crashes including an increasing toll among first responders such as police, fire fighters, and ambulance personnel. There are thousands of crashes annually resulting in hundreds of injuries and dozens of fatalities.
HAAS Alert’s Safety Cloud doesn’t end at identifying the presence and movement of emergency responders – including those parked on the side of the road – the company is working on a host of other roadway hazard alerts including alerting to the presence of:
- Utility vehicles
- Tow trucks (hundreds of injuries and dozens of fatalities annually)
- Workzones and Roadside Construction
- Delivery Vehicles
- School Buses
- Department of Public Works Vehicles
- Transit Vehicles (buses, trams, trolleys, etc.)
- Traffic Signals (receiving data from and sending data to)
- Variable Message Boards (receiving data from and sending data to)
The HAAS Alert application might ultimately migrate to the instrument cluster as a standard alerting function not unlike existing pop-up messages for fuel level, outside temperature, current speed limit, and the like. Departments of transportation authorities and first responder organizations throughout the U.S. have embraced the solution with vehicles on the road throughout the U.S. equipped with HAAS Alert’s wireless equipment.
The radical reality of the HAAS Alert Safety Cloud and Stellantis’ visionary adoption of the technology reflects a breakthrough in alerting technology that opens a path to both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. The development marks the realization of dream of ubiquitous safety communications originally conceived in the automotive industry and finally arriving with the widespread adoption of embedded cellular connections in cars and other vehicles.
With this single decision to deploy EVAS alerting technology, Stellantis has put the Jeep hack squarely in the rearview mirror – while pointing the way forward for the rest of the global automotive industry.