Siemens Communications has signed an agreement to join the eCall Initiative (Emergency Call), an EU-wide organisation of representatives from industry and politics which champions the introduction of a European emergency call system (eCall) on the roads.
Its aspiration is that by the year 2009 every vehicle in Europe should be fitted with an on-board emergency call system that sends an emergency signal either automatically or manually to the ambulance, police and fire services in the event of an accident. Siemens will contribute its expertise with respect to mobile radio systems and radio modules.
The emergency call system (eCall) of the future will be triggered either manually by the occupants of the vehicle or automatically by the activation of sensors in the vehicle itself. Immediately after sending the alarm, the built-in system sets up a direct voice connection to the emergency call centre responsible and sends important data about the accident, such as its precise location.
"Through its many years of experience in developing GSM/GPRS and Edge radio modules specifically for the automobile industry, Siemens can make a substantial contribution to ensuring the success of the initiative and improving security on the streets," said Jose Costa e Silva, head of the Wireless Modules division at Siemens Communications.
The standards and specifications for the eCall system should be defined by the end of 2005. Field tests will follow in 2006, and from 2009 all new vehicles will be equipped with the eCall technology. The uniform European emergency call (E-112) should then come into operation with added location data.
The eCall protagonists do however point out that the system can only function if the emergency services of the member states set up their emergency call centres in such a way that they can also process the eCall minimum set of data from 2007 at the latest. This means they all need to pull together.
The founders of the eCall Consortium are the EU Commission along with the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and ERTICO, a public/private partnership for the introduction of intelligent transport systems and services in Europe.
For more information contact Jose Machado, Siemens Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 652 2000.