E-call system

E-call system

E-call system

0 comments 📅03 December 2014, 00:43

eCall system

The last few years have seen efforts to implement an integrated EU system of efficient car accident notification called eCall. These efforts result from analyses of road safety in the European Union regularly conducted by the European Commission. The idea of the eCall system follows the conclusions drawn from these analyses. Its implementation aims to increase the survivability rate of car accident victims and minimize the consequences of such accidents (leading to a decrease in the number of road fatalities).

eCall will constitute part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving the efficiency and safety of road transport called eSafety. Most stress will be put on the electronic control of the stability of the vehicle, reduction of blind-spots, improved lane keeping control, speed alerts, improved braking systems and adaptive car lighting. eCall, on the other hand, will enable automatic or manual calls for assistance in case of a car accident.

Commercial solutions of similar functionality have already been implemented worldwide. In Poland one of the most popular is ISR – offered as an aftermarket product by the system operator or as an extra feature installed in new cars sold by a number of importers. For more information see also: ISR – passive safety.

How does eCall work?

The European Commission assumes that from the 1st October 2015 the eCall rescue system will be installed in all new cars and light commercial vehicles. This means that every carmaker wishing to sell cars in the EU must equip them with an eCall device. This device has three functional features:

1)       automatic engagement of the system and generation of accident-related data (with the help of the sensors installed in the car),

2)      establishment of voice communication between the rescue centre and the car participating in the collision (the system dials the European emergency number 112, establishes a telephone connection with the proper rescue centre and sends accident-related information to the proper rescue services including the time, precise location and the direction of movement),

the connection can be established manually by pressing a button in the car by, for example, a witness of the car accident.

schemat systemu ECall_800

eCall as part of a framework

eCall devices constitute only one part of a whole system. The other part is servicing incoming alert notifications and directing proper rescue services to the accident site. The eCall device can establish connection with the dispatch centre only via telecommunication service. That is why the next requirement for the whole system is an efficient telecommunication network (in practice this means cooperation and standardization of solutions among EU telecoms). The eCall project supplements the existing 112 emergency number systems, adding the caller location feature (E112).

In a communication (KOM(2009) 434 final version), the European Commission states as follows:

eCall is a pan-European service that will operate in all European Member States and states associated to the initiative. It will be available in all vehicles, irrespective of brand, country and actual location of the vehicle. eCall is the only service providing European-wide coverage: no special agreements or additional devices will be needed, eCall will work at your holiday destination and during your business trip as well as at home…

Aim

The estimated cost-benefit analysis of the system indicates a possibility of decreasing the number of European road fatalities by 2500 annually and overall reduction of consequences by 15%. These aims will be achieved by cutting the response time for rescue services by 40% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas. According to the statistics shortening of the rescue response time increases the chance of survivability of car accident victims and reduces the extent of their injuries. That is why in such situations literally every minute counts. Frequently, car accident victims are unable to call for help due to, for example, shock, or will not call immediately. The eCall automated notification system was created specifically for such situations.

Cooperation

The planned and existing legislation on the technological and organizational architecture of the pan European eCall project specifies the need for cooperation between private and public entities. Governments are required to provide technical and operational response capabilities of public rescue services to car accident notifications issued automatically or manually by a vehicle equipped with the eCall system and ensure continuous operation of the 112 emergency call with E112 support. Private entities (hardware manufacturers, GSM operators and others) will be required to participate in the rollout costs for the system.

What remains to be regulated (or is being regulated) is the issue of utilization of other data collected by car equipment and sending it to car manufacturers. Information such as driving style of the driver (fuel consumption, engine parameters, braking), minor collisions, replacement of parts and other information can be received via eCall. Data transfer is conducted in the same manner as an emergency call using GSM network. FIGIEFA – the European federation of independent wholesalers and retailers of automotive replacement parts and their associated repair chains goes a step further demanding fair access to the same functions and information as car manufacturers.

It seems that apart from safety, eCall and its capabilities influence a number of profitable branches of the economy.

Summary

eCall system is part of a comprehensive strategy created by the European Commission to improve road safety and increase transport efficiency in Europe. So far 15 countries have been participating in work on the project and associated tests (program HeRO). The countries are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Luxemburg, Germany, Greece, Italy, Holland, Romania, Sweden and Turkey. Some countries, for example Poland, use the acquired knowledge and practice (however without EU funding) in order to prepare to the final implementation.

Parallel to the technology (telemetric devices for transmitting signals, resistance of sensors to impact), there is also the issue of the human factor – personnel responsible for receiving notifications, coordination of rescue operations and the need for continuous training. On top of that comes the regulation of how data is protected, the marketing potential of such information and a sensible distribution of added services based on eCall to private and public sectors. It looks like EU member countries still have plenty of work ahead in order to resolve all doubts connected with the system, prepare Europeans for new procedures and change their behaviour when faced with dangerous situations on the road. Due to the above, the final deadline for the implementation of eCall (01.10.2015) still seems to be an open issue.

E-call system - overview
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