All new cars that receive type approval in Europe, regardless of manufacturer, model or price category, are to have eCall installed from this month (April 2018) onward to help reduce response time and road fatalities. Continental, a manufacturer of the technology, has welcomed the move.
eCall is an onboard emergency call system that automatically issues an alert when a vehicle is involved in an accident, sending its exact location to the closest appropriately equipped public-safety answering point.
According to the European Commission, this will reduce the response time by up to 40% in urban areas and up to 50% in rural areas, and is expected to lead to a 10% reduction in fatalities per year across the European Union (EU).
“For us, eCall means that we are a huge step closer to our Vision Zero – mobility without road deaths or injuries – as help is now automatically on its way in the case of an accident. By using the telematics unit for other applications like real-time information about traffic flows or potential hazards, accidents can even be actively avoided and congestion minimized,” said Johann Hiebl, head of Continental’s Infotainment and Connectivity business unit.
The automatic eCall system is activated by the triggering of the air bag control unit; it is also possible to trigger an emergency call manually, for example if a driver witnesses a serious accident.
According to the European standard, a minimum set of data must be transmitted and this will contain information including the time of the emergency call, the vehicle type and location, the drive type, the number of passengers, the direction of travel, and the way in which the emergency call was triggered.
The new functions and services enabled by connectivity in the vehicle include software updates for all vehicle electronics, which are performed wirelessly via an air interface without visiting a dealer workshop, as well as remote and anticipatory vehicle diagnostics.