First responders who are rushing to help victims of accidents, fires, crimes, or other incidents have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. They need to make their way as quickly as possible through often heavily-trafficked roads and highways to get to where those victims need help.

For one reason or another – inattention or perhaps lack of awareness – too many drivers don’t do what they are supposed to do. They don’t move over to allow those vehicles to pass. That’s bad enough, but the danger is then magnified at intersections.

Clearly, if drivers could be aware sooner that an emergency vehicle is coming, they could do what the law requires – move over – and make room for that vehicle to get through. Would 5G networks help, with their faster transport speeds and lower latency?

That’s what HAAS Alert decided to find out.

The maker of systems that provides alerts about responding emergency vehicles and other municipal fleets to connected and autonomous cars put the new Chicago-area Sprint 5G network to the test.

What HAAS Alert does is to alert drivers when fleet vehicles are en route or on the scene in order to prevent possible collisions. The company’s system delivers real-time digital alerts via cellular networks to drivers through navigation apps and in-dash systems. With these advance warnings, the drivers can safely identify and avoid first responders and others and move over as required. The service is used by numerous fire departments and police departments, as well as municipal, maintenance, and DOT fleets.

In extensive testing of its fleet cellular vehicle-to-vehicle system using 5G, the company saw a huge reduction – 40 percent – in latency, compared with use of an LTE network.

The HAAS Alert tests compared transmission and reception times on the 5G network to a standard LTE network. The company equipped a vehicle with a device that included both cellular chipsets, then tested the time difference between when a device alerted its cloud-based public safety platform and when the platform received the alert and the reciprocal notification.

5G showed a significant improvement in terms of faster delivery of alerts and the ability to increase the time that drivers had to react and comply with the law regarding emergency and other vehicles. In the first set of tests, with LTE it took 0.796 seconds on average to transmit from the device. With 5G that transmission took 0.549 seconds on average, a gain of almost 0.25 seconds or 30 percent.

In the second set of tests, the LTE transmission took an average of 0.388 seconds, while the 5G transmission took 0.232 seconds, a gain of more than 0.15 seconds or 40 percent.

In each case, the standard deviation, or variance, in the transmission was significantly reduced as well. In the first test, there was a 72 percent reduction in variance, and in the second, 40 percent.

What this means is that by giving drivers alerts about emergency vehicles more quickly, they have more time to respond and, hopefully reduce one of the deadliest threats facing emergency responders and roadside workers. Traffic collisions and incidents in which a vehicle strikes a responder or roadside worker who is outside a vehicle claim scores of lives every year. In the state of Illinois alone, 22 state troopers have been struck so far this year, and three of them have died because of their injuries.1

“5G technology can directly impact public safety,” said Cory Hohs, CEO of HAAS Alert, following the tests. “2019 is one of the deadliest years on record for first responders and roadway workers, and we’re committed to doing our part to solve this problem. Our recent tests … confirm that 5G networks will make communities and first responders safer.”

One of the benefits of 5G touted by industry experts was its potential for enhancing public safety applications by enabling real-time rapid transmission of large amounts of data between first responders in the field. HAAS alert extends that data transmission concept to other vehicles, and its recent positive experience with 5G proved that, yes, 5G can enhance first responders’ safety. This offers great promise for 5G’s potential to make a difference.