Smartphones are everywhere, and the strength and reliability of mobile phone networks has increased dramatically in the past decade. Possibilities for the technology are vast, especially when it comes to working with automobiles. As cars become quieter and better built, it's important for drivers to stay alert and watch for emergency vehicles. And while we're waiting for vehicle-to-x commincation to trickle into future cars, Techstars graduate HAAS Alert is using smartphone proliferation to provide real-time notifications to drivers to alert them of upcoming emergency vehicles - essentially v-to-x in your pocket.

The way the system works is simple. Emergency vehicles, like firetrucks or ambulances equipped with HAAS Alert, will automatically send a notification to phones with the apps installed that notifies drivers that there is an approaching emergency vehicle. It's not totally unlike Waze, but the notifications are directly from the source, not from HAAS Alert users.

The company is working on Apple Car Play and Android Auto integration, so users will be able to see the alerts on their infotainment screens. They also announced a partnership with Ford that will seek to integrate the system into future products.

The app is currently available and functioning in a number of midwestern cities. Fire departments in Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan, are already using the tech. HAAS Alert announced yesterday that it is working to bring the system to the city of Detroit. Smart city technology like this will go a long way toward Detroit goal of becoming a tech hub as part of its revitalization.

The system is made to alert cyclists and pedestrians as well. The company's entire goal is to make the streets safer. They say that emergency responders are more likely to be hurt traveling to a call then actually attending to it. Modern cars are quiet and often difficult to see out of. Sirens can only be so loud.

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