European eCall Clears the Next Hurdle

Jun 18, 2013

  • Automatic emergency call (eCall) in the car can save lives
  • Continental prepares for start of series production in October 2015.

Regensburg/Wetzlar, Germany. According to the European Commission, an automatic emergency call (eCall) after serious traffic accidents will become standard as of October 2015. The European Commission has now submitted two proposals for the creation of a corresponding compulsory legal framework in this regard. Continental, the international automotive supplier, welcomes this initiative and sees itself ideally equipped to supply these systems for all vehicle categories in the upcoming years. The in-vehicle telematics unit, with which the vehicle transmits the emergency call after an accident,  also opens up the possibility of integrating numerous other telematics services with connection to the high-performance backend, the “Cloud”, into the car. "Like the European Commission, we see in eCall a great opportunity to make road traffic safer overall, as well as more intelligent and efficient," says Hans Hiebl, head of the Infotainment & Connectivity business unit at Continental. "If vehicles receive real-time information about the flow of traffic or potential hazards, accidents can be actively prevented and traffic jams minimized. Current research projects are also demonstrating this."

This box could save lives in the future: the telematics modul from Continental brings the automatic emergency call (eCall) into the vehicle. Image download  

For vehicles with eCall, the closest appropriately equipped public-safety answering point (PSAP) would automatically be alerted and informed of the vehicle’s exact location, after a serious accident, where the airbag was deployed. With this, invaluable seconds and minutes can be gained until help arrives for possible injured passengers and any other affected road users.  The European Commission expects the response time to be increased by up to approximately 40% in urban areas and even up to 50% in rural areas.

Additionally, to the high gains in regards to road safety, eCall is also, an important step to establishing a truly Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). Today Continental is, in the sector of commercial vehicles, already one of the main established providers of ITS:

“As soon as vehicles are equipped with appropriate telematics modules, further services, with many advantages for the driver, can be established. By request, the location of stolen cars can be integrated into the range of functions, or the so-called pay-as-you-drive insurance model can be realized,” says Dr. Michael Ruf, head of the Commercial Vehicles and Aftermarket business unit at Continental.

Continental has already developed appropriate telematics systems  for series production. These can be adapted at short notice to the needs of different vehicle manufacturers, in order to put the desired spectrum of functions for a given situation at disposal. Therefore, from Continental’s point of view, volume production by 2015 is possible and realistic.