Recently, voice controlled software has begun to be used in public safety applications. The motivation for these efforts is to improve officer safety by allowing the officer to operate the police cruiser's electronics and mobile data terminal (MDT) using voice commands so he can continue to focus on the road when driving. Project 54, which is representative of the work in this area, allows an officer to use a microphone and push-to-talk button on the steering wheel for voice interaction with vehicle's MDC and electronics.
This project's focus is on the officer's access to the cruiser's electronics and computer from outside the vehicle while responding to an unknown-risk call. Tactically, it is absolutely imperative that the officer be able to maintain visual contact of the potential threat. Accessing the electronics and MDC by voice avoids the divison of attention that occurs if the officer is forced to look at a keyboard or computer screen. While Project54 appears to have been successful in making driving safer, its microphone technology limits its use to the interior and immediate vicinity of the cruiser making it unsuitable for tactical situations. We propose investigating the use of the officer's off-the-shelf, portable radio packset to interact with the cruiser's MDT from outside the car. We plan on doing this by using the officer's packset to communicate with a transceiver attached to the MDC which also has an audio and control interface to the cruiser's in-car mobile radio. Transmissions received from the officer's packset by the MDC's transceiver are processed by a software module running on the MDT. Ordinary radio transmissions are forwarded to the in-car mobile radio, which rebroadcasts them. Voice commands, such as a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) command are executed and responses converted from text to speech and rebroadcast by the MDC's transceiver to the officer's packset.
A significant feature of this approach is that none of the existing hardware needs to be replaced. The only requirement is the addition of a transceiver (another packset like the one the officer carries), some cabling and software. Further, by simply changing channels on the officer's packset and replacing the cables between the MDC and the mobile radio with a microphone and speaker, the MDT and the communications equipment can revert to their original configuration.