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Cars converge on Brussels as eCall trial kicks off

November 11, 2010 // Colin Holland

Cars converge on Brussels as eCall trial kicks off

A pan-European field trial of the eCall emergency system which automatically calls emergency operators in the event of a road accident has started today. The European Union has called for mandatory implementation of eCall with all new cars should be fitted with eCall as standard between 2013 and 2015.


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Taking part in the field trial are NXP Semiconductors and are organizations representing essential parts of the rescue chain, including BMW, IBM, Allianz OrtungsServices, DEKRA, and Deutsche Telekom, as well as automobile clubs AvD, Touring and UAMK.

The pan-European eCall trial kicks off today with three cars starting from Madrid, Athens and Helsinki. Within two weeks, the three cars will drive to Brussels, where the closing event of the eSafety Forum will be held on November 25, 2010.

Each of the vehicles is equipped with a small onboard telematics unit based on NXP technology. During the 10,000 kilometer journey, the telematics unit will send out test emergency calls at regular intervals, which will be analyzed by servers from IBM, and will be sent to Allianz OrtungsServices and the BMW call center.

The trial intends to show that eCall is not dependent on the present standards used; that it functions reliably across all European borders; and that the telematics solution is compatible with given EU eCall standards. The EU drives solutions based on an in-band modem.

The system sends data such as the time of the accident and the GPS coordinates of the accident point, and the number of vehicle occupants to a Public Safety Accident Point (PSAP).

The goal of eCall is to reduce the time it takes emergency services to arrive at the accident scene by 40 to 50 percent according to where the accident occurs. It is hoped to save up to 2,500 lives a year, reduce the seriousness of injuries, and potentially saving an estimated 26 billion (about $36 billion) a year.

NXP has developed the Automotive Telematics On-Board Unit Platform (ATOP) module, which is a little bigger than a two-Euro coin, which can be cost-efficiently and flexibly integrated in auto electronics. The NXP solution is automotive-certified and serial production was launched in 2010.

Around three percent of all vehicles worldwide are fitted with a telematics system, which is required for eCall. The solution is available in all BMW models and is already in place.

The technical requirements for a European deployment are already in place. NXP has developed an inexpensive telematics solution, which in addition to eCall also makes other services possible.




At this pan-European trial, the test signal from each location will be sent from the ATOP- based vehicle telematics solution, also known as an onboard unit, to the nearest rescue service point via Deutsche Telekoms mobile network and roaming partners.

For the rescue service points, IBM offers appropriate hardware, software and its messaging and visual solutions, providing precise localization and mapping.

Allianz OrtungsServices (AOS) offers rescue service units (PSAPs) with the exact location of any casualties, through mobile networks via its 112 Life-Service-Location-Platform. AOS receives, decodes, visualizes and communicates the conditioned emergency dataset directly to a local rescue, coordination center.

The exact positioning enables rescue units to be quicker at the accident scene. In addition to rescue services, automobile associations (such as AvD and Touring from Belgium or UAMK from the Czech Republic) are also informed about the accident at the same time. Their service vehicles can quickly clear the accident area, offering a service optimized for car owners, and thus helping to minimize disruption to the flow of traffic.

This pan-European emergency system should contribute to the fast and reliable arrival of emergency services at the accident location. For example, following the release of an airbag an emergency call is made conveying vital details. At the same time, manual activation is also possible. According to studies, eCall could save up to 2,500 lives annually in Europe, while the amount of serious injuries could be reduced by 15 percent.

Follow the European eCall Trial with daily updates at: www.nxp.com/ecall.

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