Trio of IUPUI grad students working with Carmel, Indianapolis firefighters on windshield app

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Area firefighters may soon see some new technology displayed in their windshield. Three graduate students at IUPUI have won $5,000 to develop an app that would display three-dimensional mapping and traffic patterns to help navigate a truck to a scene.

The students, Sandeep Jagtap, Rahul Jain, and Pruthviraj Narayanaswamy, are all studying at the IUPUI College of Informatics & Computing. The money comes from The True AR Challenge & Hackaton, put on by WayRay, which works with holographic augmented reality (AR) displays.

The students’ app, which they've called "Fire Ray," would use a small projector that would put holographic images up for the officer, who sits next to the driver of fire apparatuses, who could see real-time traffic issues, along with the location of fire hydrants and other fire trucks.

Mapping technology is already available for the Carmel Fire Department, but it mostly lacks real-time conditions.

"We have hydrants on there and some real-time where it will show the location of our trucks," said Carmel Fire Department spokesperson Tim Griffin. "So, technology is really good and we are fortunate to have what we have, but this is really going the next step."

The technology would help crews get to a scene faster, helping them avoid longer delays in traffic or avoid crashes they didn't know were coming up.

Right now, the students plan is only a concept, but the concept was enough to win them the money to develop the app.

They've already met with Carmel firefighters and crews with IFD to show crews what they're trying to design and what features they want in the technology.

The students' professor, Lou Lenzi, said the next step is to get one of the projectors to campus so the three men can begin the next phase of getting their concept developed.

Lenzi estimated an app could be ready to go to testing by the end of the year.