When Chicago resident Cory Hohs had a close call with a fire truck on his motorcycle, he was inspired to create a new app that would help decrease the number of accidents drivers have with oncoming emergency vehicles.
This new app, Haasalert, is being tested first in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the fire department is willing to take part in a pilot. If the testing goes well for the app, it could eventually be available in other cities.
Hohs and his two partners – Jigar Patel and Noah Levens – are receiving a lot of support from the Grand Rapids Fire Department. They’ve been able to gather research while riding on fire trucks during emergency calls.
“To be honest, they have been so open and so helpful,” Hohs told The Grand Rapids Press.
A captain with the department’s office of strategic planning said: “It can really be hard to hear us coming down the road….if this makes citizens safe and we can help with that, we are open to that.”
According to Hohs’ research, the technology has the potential to cut down on the estimated 60,000 crashes that happen each year around the country while emergency vehicles travel to calls.
Motorists enjoy being able to concentrate on what’s happening inside their vehicle — whether it’s music, phone conversations or voice directions from their GPS. All of that drowns out any outside noise, which may contribute to slower response times in pulling out of the way of oncoming emergency vehicles.
But if an alert is sent- via Bluetooth- to a car, it may help drivers react quicker when a fire truck, for example, is en route to a call.
Hohs’ Chicago business was one of eight startups selected from around the world to participate in the first session of Start Garden’s new accelerator Seamless.
According to their website, Start Garden is an early stage venture capital firm and cultural catalyst inspired to revive Grand Rapid’s rich entrepreneurial heritage. ‘Seamless’ has already garnered headlines in the national tech and business publications.
The News Observer reports that products being developed by Seamless’ first class range from a car seat that can prevent road rage while detecting a driver’s emotional state to a hospital bed that can monitor a patient’s vital signs.