eCall

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eCall is a European initiative intended to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere in the European Union. The idea for such a technology was first presented in the context of the German youth science competition Jugend forscht in 2001.[1][2] The eCall initiative aims to deploy a device installed in all vehicles that will automatically dial 112 in the event of a serious road accident, and wirelessly send airbag deployment and impact sensor information, as well as GPS coordinates to local emergency agencies. eCall builds on E112. The European Commission is aiming to have a fully functional eCall service to be in place throughout the EU by 2015.[3] According to some estimates, eCall could speed emergency response times by 40 percent in urban areas and by 50 percent in rural areas.[4]

Many companies are involved with telematics technology to use in different aspects of eCall including in-vehicle systems, wireless data delivery, and public safety answering point systems. Standardization of communication protocols and human language issues are some of the obstacles. Prototypes have been successfully tested with GPRS and in-band signalling over cellular networks. At the same time proprietary eCall solutions that rely on SMS exist already today from car makers such as BMW, PSA and Volvo Cars. Once in active deployment, other telematic services such as route advisories and traffic information are expected to explode.

The project is also supported by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), an interest group of European car, bus, and truck manufacturers, and ERTICO. Many of the stakeholder companies involved with telematics technology have membership in ERTICO or ACEA. An advantage of this membership is increased ability to influence developing eCall standards.

In Russia, a fully interoperable system called ERA-GLONASS (ЭРА-ГЛОНАСС) is being deployed, with the aim to require an eCall terminal and a GPS/GLONASS receiver in new vehicles by 2015-2017.[5] [6]

In North America, a similar service is available by GM via their OnStar service. In Europe eCall services are provided by Bosch Communication Center the Global BPO division of the Bosch Group.

Privacy concerns[edit]

As with all schemes to add mandatory wireless transceivers to cars there are privacy concerns to be addressed.[7] Depending on the final implementation of the system it may be possible for the system to become activated without an actual crash taking place.

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