eCall road accident emergency system to be included in all new EU cars from March
The EU has issued guidelines for its soon-to-be-mandatory eCall system, an initiative intended to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere within the EU and technology that will soon be included in all new cars.
From the end of March 2018, all new cars and vans will be equipped with the eCall system, which automatically calls the Europe-wide 112 number in the event of a serious accident.
The system is designed to speed up emergency response times and it’s estimated that it could save up to 2,500 lives across Europe each year.
Mariya Gabriel, commissioner responsible for Digital Economy and Society, said: “eCall is a tangible example of how the EU can bring real benefits of digital technology to its citizens, no matter where they are in the EU.
“By combining the single EU emergency number – 112 – with the EU’s satellite navigation system and GSM technology, it saves lives by making emergency responses faster.”
An eCall device works by receiving signals from GPS satellites and the EU’s nearly complete Galileo system.
When fitted to a vehicle, eCall will automatically contact emergency services in the event of a serious crash with vital information like the vehicle type, the location and time of the accident and the direction of travel (most important on motorways), even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call.
The new guidelines for manufacturers follow intensive testing of the eCall on-board units at the the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). Manufacturers have been sending in their devices for testing and preliminary feedback.
The JRC’s Tibor Navracsics said: “Any legislation is only as good as its implementation. The EU’s push to save lives by mandating eCall will work only if the on-board units are fit for purpose.
“That is why the European Commission’s science service has been reaching out to industry, assessing their devices and providing feedback to manufacturers on their models and to test centres on their procedures.”
Once the roll-out of eCall throughout the EU is complete, it will become the second largest market for the nascent Galileo system after the location-based services running on smartphones.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Knowing the precise location of an accident is crucial for saving lives. Using Europe’s own satellite navigation system Galileo, which is operational for a year now, will enable the emergency response teams to locate the accident with much greater accuracy.
“The mandatory eCall system is a puzzle piece of what our mobility will look like in the future: connected and automated driving with low- and zero-emission cars. With the roll-out of eCall in April 2018, we are taking a major step forward for adoption of Galileo in the automotive market.”