Further on up the road

With eCall having been legally mandated across the EU earlier this year, Philip Mason explores what needs to happen now to make the technology truly fit for purpose

On 1 April, public safety automotive solution eCall was made mandatory under European law for all new types of cars and light-goods vehicles.

For those who may not know, eCall is a digital wireless system enabling vehicles to automatically or manually contact the emergency services in the event of a road traffic collision. It does this through the collection of onboard impact sensor information, with the data communicated – over either 2G or 3G – to the ‘public safety answering point’ (PSAP), via an in-band modem.

The small amount of data generated by the vehicle is transmitted through the voice channel. The system is based on a single emergency number, for instance 999 or 112.

eCall is not a new technology – in fact, premium car-makers have been offering it since 2002. The difference between the new (public) eCall system and that provided by the manufacturers, however, is that the private system will generally be received by a call-handling centre, where additional data is added before being passed to the PSAP.

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