Automated emergency calling (eCall) now mandatory on new car models
All new models of car launched in the EU since 31 March include eCall, the automated emergency call system that alerts emergency services in the event of a collision.
Research showed that, with eCall, emergency service response time would be cut by 50% in rural areas and 40% in urban areas.
Inclusion of the system means that all new models of car sold in the EU are fitted with GPS devices and are capable of communication over the GSM phone network. This will facilitate the introduction of future safety systems such as Intelligent Speed Assistance, which can use GPS to locate speed limits on digital maps, and could use the GSM connection to download regular map updates. The fact that eCall technology is already fitted as standard will make introduction of the technology considerably cheaper.
Currently the system is only mandatory on cars, and it will take many years before the majority of vehicles are covered. However, recent developments in Advanced Mobile Location technology may help other road users get emergency assistance faster.
Apple announced in January that the latest version of its phone operating system iOS would support AML technology. The system automatically sends location data to emergency services when a call is placed. The system was launched on Android phones in 2016. However, it only works in areas where emergency call centres are equipped to receive the data. EU countries including Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania and the United Kingdom have implemented the technology nationwide. Eight other countries are working on implementation.