European Parliament makes eCall mandatory from 2018

Sophia Antipolis, 7 May 2015

2,500 lives per year expected to be saved throughout Europe with eCall

On 28 April 2015, the European Parliament adopted the legislation on eCall type approval requirements and made it mandatory for all new models of cars to be equipped with eCall technology from 31 March 2018 onward.

Studies have found that getting immediate information about an accident and pinpointing the exact location of the crash site can cut emergency services' response time by 50% in rural and 60% in urban areas, leading to 2,500 lives saved per year across the European Union. ETSI’s Mobile Standards Group Technical Committee, together with the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project), of which ETSI is a founding member, has developed the standards which describe the transmission of eCall data.

eCall is an in-vehicle road safety system which automatically calls the emergency services in case of a serious accident, even if the driver and passengers are unconscious. eCalls can also be made manually by car occupants. As soon as the eCall sensors register a severe impact on a vehicle or a call is initiated manually, the system automatically dials the pan European 112 emergency voice call number and calls the relevant Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). A Minimum Set of Data (MSD) of 140 bytes is transmitted as part of the call. This data contains the exact geographic location of the vehicle, the direction of travel, the triggering mode (automatic or manual), the Vehicle Identification Number and other information to enable the emergency response teams to quickly locate and provide medical and other life-saving assistance to the accident victims. An eCall is a normal voice call, which enables the vehicle occupants to provide the emergency services with additional details of the accident if they are able to speak. Should the MSD not be transmitted or received for any reason, or if the PSAP is not equipped with equipment to read the data, the emergency call still proceeds as a normal voice call. 

3GPP has specified the eCall service telecommunications requirements, data transmission protocols and network signaling aspects. The in-band modem used to transfer the MSD from the vehicle to the PSAP has also been specified by 3GPP. The Minimum Set of Data (MSD) has been defined by CEN Technical Committee 278. ETSI TC MSG has provided overall guidance and has developed standardized test specifications to enable eCall equipment manufacturers to ensure the interoperability of their products.

Work is ongoing to develop the specifications to make sure they can be implemented on LTE/4G networks, and to find methods of delivering positional information from smart phones with built in navigation systems.

eCall information sources

https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/ecall-all-new-cars-april-2018
http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/ecall-time-saved-lives-saved