Association, Inc.

Issue No. 1, 2008

eCall system timeline in doubt

The term "eCall" is short for "pan-European in-vehicle emergency call".  An eCall would be generated either by a vehicle's occupants or automatically, following the activation of in-vehicle sensors.  This call would provide the emergency services concerned with the exact location of a vehicle involved in an accident.  A study conducted by the European Commission suggested that eCall would cut accident response time by up to 50% in rural areas and by up to 40% in urban areas.  The earlier availability of medical attention could save up to 2,500 lives every year across the EU.

eCall technology has existed for over a decade and private emergency call services are already in operation, although the penetration of such services across Europe remains limited.  The Commission is promoting a minimum public pan-European eCall service that would work in all vehicles in Europe.  This will require the development of harmonised standards for the system to be interoperable throughout the EU.

A number of actions must take place in all Member States for eCall to become a reality.  Member States must:

On 17 September 2007, the Commission released its second Communication on Intelligent Cars which outlines new plans to accelerate the drive for safer, cleaner and smarter cars.  The Commission once again called on Member States that had still not signed its eCall MoU to do so by the end of the year. The Commission stressed that it would consider infringement procedure in 2008 if Member States failed to respond.

The already revised roll-out plan for eCall foresees it coming to market at the end of 2010 as a standard option for all new vehicle types.  That target time frame may be further delayed, however, since to date only 13 Member States have signed the MoU.

As a result of these delays, JAMA is not currently in a position to commit to the established roll-out plan and timing and would encourage the Commission to consider a longer lead time for the introduction of the infrastructure and systems that will support this important technology.  The Commission is urged also to consider eCall's deficiencies, such as its inoperability in a submerged vehicle and when a vehicle is out of range.