NXP and Partners Kick Off European eCall Trial to Enable Faster Emergency Response Times
At the electronica 2010 conference in Munich today, NXP Semiconductors N.V. (Nasdaq: NXPI) and its partners will launch a pan-European field trial of the eCall emergency system, which automatically calls emergency operators in the event of a road accident. eCall sends vital 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 the place of accident, thus reducing car accident victims by up to 2,500 lives a year, reducing the seriousness of injuries, and potentially saving an estimated €26 billion a year. Taking part in this field trial alongside NXP are organizations representing essential parts of the rescue chain, including partners 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.
eCall works across EU borders, using either an in-band modem or SMS from the car. NXP has developed a solution for this – the ATOP (Automotive Telematics On-Board Unit Platform). ). ATOP is a module, a little bigger than a two-Euro coin, which can be cost-efficiently and flexibly integrated in auto electronics, said Lars Reger, vice president of strategy and business development for the Automotive and Identification business unit at NXP. The NXP solution is automotive-certified and serial production was launched in 2010.
eCall in the starting blocks - BMW Assist Advanced eCall leading the way
Currently circa three percent of all vehicles worldwide are fitted with a telematics system, which is required for eCall. BMW is one of the pioneers of implementing telematics systems. The solution is available in all BMW models and is already in place. Recently at the the Modial de L'Automobile 2010 in Paris, BMW Group was presented with a special award of the European New Car Assessment Programme (EURO NCAP) for safety examinations. The eCall solution was recognized as groundbreaking in relation to the requirements of the crash test and safety technology. Customers are also responding very positively; BMW frequently gets feedback from people who were rescued quickly thanks to eCall.
The technical requirements for a European deployment are already in place. NXP has developed an inexpensive telematics solution, which enables other services possible in addition to eCall. 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 Telekom’s 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 LifeService112 Location Platform. As an information provider AOS receives, decodes, visualizes and communicates the conditioned emergency dataset directly to a local rescue coordination center. AOS sees itself as an “adapter” of different processes and technologies between different telecommunications providers and rescue coordination centers.
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.
2,500 Human Lives
The European Union has called for mandatory implementation of eCall for all new automobiles. According to the EU, between 2013 and 2015, all new cars should be fitted with eCall as standard. 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.