Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ecall: Smart Alarm For EU Cars

While automotive safety continues to improve, traffic accidents still account for around 50,000 casualties every year on European roads. And one of the most frequent and scary problems is a breakdown or worse, a crash in the middle of nowhere and no immediate help at hand. Or even if aid does arrive, it could be too late.
The EU plans to cut the number of fatal traffic accidents on its roads with the help of sophisticated technology that will automatically call an emergency hotline after a car crash: Ecall. This smart alarm system won't prevent crashes but could save lives.

"With global placement systems and mobile telecommunications technology already standard in many high-end automobiles, it would seem that Ecall is an easy upgrade," said Alfredo Filippone, spokesperson from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association ACEA. "When embarked, say from a sensor in the car's airbag, Ecall will call the common European emergency number 112 automatically, and help will be on its way."

Studies estimate that when fully employed, the quick and accurate location information passed on by the Ecall system could reduce the severity of injuries and save up to 2,000 lives each year. This will add up to big savings for insurance companies.

The EU Commission has announced plans to implement Ecall by 2009. Over 20 representatives from EU member states and car and insurance industries have agreed to cooperate.
The EU action plan targets the end of 2005 for final Ecall standardisation, and 2006 for full-fledged field tests.

Source: DeutscheWelle