By now, for most people mobility has become a basic requirement which they cannot or will not do without in many aspects of their lives, be it professionally or privately. Through continuous technical progress and thanks to the pervasive interconnection of vehicles with people and infrastructure, the transport of people, but also of goods, is easier and more efficient. Thanks to progress in drone technology, these efficient transport routes are not just limited to overland routes.
Whereas formerly your own car was essential for unlimited and flexible mobility, already today, at least in many large cities, increasingly good and attractively priced alternatives are in use in the so-called “mobility mix.” Through this multifaceted mobility trend, the transport options most suited to the respective purposes are chosen, such as car sharing, Uber, rental bicycles, as well as traditional urban public transport, but which has been significantly upgraded by the integration of information and mobility services.
However, this will bring major changes in the urban transport sector with it, especially by the increase in vehicles with alternative drives (electric drive, gas, fuel cells, …). More and more large cities are saying that, in the next 5 to 15 years, they want to ban a large proportion of diesel/petrol-driven in order to reduce pollution. But this also has a major impact on fire departments and their operating methods for traffic accidents, as accident vehicles are not only becoming more diverse, but also more complex. Increasingly emergency crews are being exposed to dangers from high voltage systems as well as self-ignition of damaged high voltage batteries, which means that special safety measures are required and therefore special training measures.
As has already been developed and is currently being field tested by some automotive manufacturers, in the near future also more driverless vehicles will be on the streets. Regardless of whether these driverless vehicles are safe or not in regular operation, the question remains for emergency crews of how to act in the event of an accident involving them. What happens when, for example, a vehicle unexpectedly moves, or how do driverless vehicles behave when faced with crews on an emergency call with flashing lights, when they drive through an intersection at a red light or when they zoom by them at high speeds in traffic?
But the mobility trend also offers new opportunities for fire departments to support their emergency crews in the execution of their activities. More intelligent assistance systems ensure better safety during emergency trips, especially in light of increasing traffic in cities. Moreover, alternative drive concepts may produce new possibilities for the design of firefighting vehicles. In addition, virtually noiseless and low-emission vehicle drives enable stress-free and more focused working at the scene.
So it will be interesting to see what the future holds in store for fire departments, and naturally also all other emergency services in regards to the mobility trend.