Andy Rooke the Project Coordinator of the HeERO project emphasised the huge progress of Bulgaria in the eCall service

Neelie Kroes Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe was a guest of honor and has opened the regional conference “Digital Agenda for Europe: Reality or still a challenge?” which was held on 20 September in the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan Sofia Bulgaria.

The conference in Sofia was a working meeting of the digital champions from all European countries. In addition to ambassadors of the new technologies (digital champions) the conference was attended by regional and European ministers IT companies such as Cisco Systems Ericsson Microsoft Vivacom NGOs IT specialists etc. The regional conference was one of the three local or “going local” European Commission initiatives for the year European Commission.

In order to develop a united European Information Society within the European Union investments are needed. Especially in the field of high-speed broadband connectivity and researches this will lead to more innovations stated Neelie Kroes. Soon up to 90 percent of the jobs will require digital knowledge. Digital infrastructure investments are crucial for public access to electronic services and for bridging the gap between generations. Internet speed in Bulgaria is one of the fastest in Europe but this refers only to urban areas accessing the internet in rural areas is an issue the Commissioner added.

Neelie Kroes also stated the role of Bulgaria in the process of development of the Pan-European in-vehicle emergency call system eCall based on 112/E112 the single European Emergency number. She expressed confidence that Bulgaria is going to have a leading role in the project. Bulgaria is among the strong supporters of this traffic safety system and takes active participation in its introduction. In front of the participants of the regional conference she stated that innovative project proposals could give long term solutions. The eCall system is a good example of how ITS can provide aid in real life said Commissioner Kroes and expressed her regards to the Bulgarian government for the efforts to bring eCall to life.

The Deputy Minister of Interiors Dimitar Georgiev said traffic safety has been a basic priority for the past few years. “Taking into consideration that mostly second hand vehicles are used in Bulgaria it is necessary to use more technical means to limit speed. During the last three years we have managed to reduce traffic accidents by 11 percent per year. The ministry would like to deploy eCall in Bulgaria. This would reduce the number of injuries in traffic accidents by up to 15 percent. How do we plan to achieve it ?: by introducing ETSI standards mounting GPS systems in cars which will deliver information to emergency services so that first aid is provided without delay. The tag price of such devices developed by one of Bulgarian partners would be around 50 Euros a piece half as much as  the price announced by Commissioner Kroes. The Deputy Minister of Transport Valeri Borissov stated in front of the European Commissioner that Bulgaria wishes to be a leader that Bulgaria has the expert capacity in the development of various pilot IT (ITS) projects such as eCall.

The conference was attended by Andy Rooke coordinator of the HeERO project who presented the aims and tasks facing the HeERO project and its extension HeERO 2. Mr Rooke stressed that the project addresses the pan-European in-vehicle emergency call service “eCall” based on 112/E112 the single European emergency number. The aim of the in-vehicle eCall system – based on the 112 call platform – is to ensure that the emergency services are alerted automatically to serious road accidents. This system would speed up the arrival of the emergency services saving lives and reducing injuries and also improve road safety. The implementation of the e-Call system on cars will make it available for each equipped vehicle travelling within Europe without the necessity of additional devices or service agreements. Fifteen European countries participate in the HeERO project and its extension HeERO 2 and Bulgaria is one of them. Mr Rooke has emphasised the huge progress of Bulgaria in eCall and expressed his satisfaction with the collaboration with the Bulgarian consortium partners. He evaluated the big potential of the Bulgarian industry in this sphere.

Demonstration of e-call service for the transmission of in-vehicle emergency calls based on 112 was made at the Conference by one of Bulgarian partners in HeERO 2 project a member of ITS Bulgaria. The device automatically dials the European emergency number 112 and transmits information about the exact location of the crashed vehicle to the nearest emergency centre. According to the European Commission this system will help to save more than 2500 human lives per year in the EU. Traffic accidents bring more than 160 billion euro economic losses per year. The implementation of the eCall system in cars could bring 26 billions savings annually compared with the cost of installation of less than 100 euro per car.

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Original Publication Date: Wed 26 Sep 2012