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Project 54: Meet Your Car of the Future

NCJ Number
Mission Critical Communications Volume: 23 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2008 Pages: 41,42,44,46,47
Dr. William Lenharth
Date Published
October 2008
5 pages
This article provides an overview of some of the technologies being considered for police cruisers in the Project 54 system, which is involved in integrating electronic devices in cruisers into one system with a speech user interface.
The Project 54 system was developed at the University of New Hampshire in the Consolidated Advanced Technology laboratory in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Safety (NHDS). New Hampshire is used as a multiagency “test bed” for investigating, demonstrating, and helping to standardize techniques for the effective exchange of information across multiple modes of communications between headquarters and units in the field, as well as the effective exchange of information across multiple modes of communications directly between units in the field. As part of this effort, the Federal Government is promoting the P25 digital radio standard in order to achieve voice communication interoperability (communication across emergency service agencies) among first responders. All State and local police agencies in New Hampshire now use P25-compliant digital VHF radios for voice communications. One focus of the Project 54 efforts is the development of an affordable system (less than $10,000) in order to offer base-station support for local police that will provide P25-compliant wireless data services similar to those that the NHDS uses. Another focus of Project 54 is providing police vehicles with temporary, high-speed wireless access at Wi-Fi hot spots, so large amounts of data can be transferred to and from the cruiser and stored locally for later use. Project 54 staff designed and are currently deploying a statewide system of Wi-Fi hot spots for the NHDS. Another Project 54 effort is data-casting, which takes advantage of unused bandwidth from digital TV transmissions in order to send high-speed data to emergency vehicles in the field.