eCall is an European Commission initiative that will require cars to be capable of making emergency calls in the event of a crash.
This can be through a manual emergency button or automatic. In these cases, if the airbag or the belt tensioners are deployed, it sends a text message to an emergency call centre providing the location of the vehicle and its registration number.
If the driver and any passengers are unconscious, in shock or otherwise unable to make a call themselves, then it’s very clear why this could be a lifesaver.
The Commission believes that a European eCall mandate has the potential to save up to 2500 lives a year, by getting help to injured people quicker, as well as reducing the severity of tens of thousands of other injuries through swifter treatment.
It’s estimated that crash response times could be reduced by up to 50 per cent in rural areas; up to 40 per-cent in cities. There’s a positive financial impact to be expected, too. Road accidents cost the EU around €160 billion a year, but savings of up €20 billion could be expected if all cars were equipped with eCall.
The EC hopes to make eCall mandatory on all new cars from 2015. Russia and North America are also introducing similar systems, through government and private initiatives.
HERE has been working with Mercedes-Benz’s Customer Assistance Center since 2008, supplying map data across 19 European countries. When the carmaker first introduced eCall in 2012, its system made use of that data from the start. This year Mercedes-Benz’s eCall system will leverage the HERE Location Platform.
This will improve the system in several ways. The HERE Location Platform marries precise, up-to-date map data with real-time traffic and additional road network information. It will provide enhanced accuracy to the location of an incident, select the nearest emergency response centre and provide those rescuers with the fastest route to the site. Note that a complete understanding of traffic conditions is vital here: the fastest route may not be the most direct one, especially following a road accident.
eCall is a potent argument for the connected car ecosystem: dynamic services, relevant to your exact location and destination. With driver safety at stake, it’s one in which precision and speed are key components.