Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions
Background report

Everything you need to know about the automatic emergency call

Facts and figures on the subject of road safety

Possibly record-breaking number of accidents in Germany

infographic about how the Telematics eCall Plug works

In an emergency, every second counts. However, drivers and passengers are often so seriously injured or in such a state of shock that they cannot even ask for help. The automatic emergency call, or eCall for short, passed by the European Commission in April 2015 will solve this problem and help to reduce the number of serious injuries in accidents by 15%. In the event of an accident, eCall automatically establishes a voice connection to the emergency call center and transmits a data set with information on the accident location. The risk on the road increases continuously. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, the number of accidents reached a new record in 2017. The police reported more than 2.6 million accidents – 388,219 people were injured and 3,177 people were killed in an accident. A new EU Parliament regulation will enter into force on March 31 2018: This requires all new passenger car models to have an eCall system installed, which in the event of a car accident, automatically notifies emergency services via the European emergency number 112.

Mandatory eCall for new car models

four happy people inside of a car

However, after March 31 2018, current car models can still be manufactured and sold without an eCall. The eCall obligation is only mandatory for new car models with a type approval from the EU. The EU Commission estimates that the European eCall reduces the time between an accident and the arrival of the rescuers by 40% in cities and by 50% in the countryside. The German Government supports the Europe-wide eCall installation, which in 95% of cases contributes to rescue forces being at the accident location within 10 minutes, which leads to saving lives. A representative forsa-study on behalf of CosmosDirekt shows that 69% of German car owners think that the eCall is reasonable and 35% feel safer with eCall when driving. Nevertheless, according to calculations of the German Insurance Association (GDV), it will take nearly ten years until half of the cars in Germany will have an integrated eCall on board.

No vehicle tracking

The General Data Protection Regulation has been tightened. All manufacturers must guarantee that the eCall technology always allows complete and permanent deletion of data. This is to prevent vehicle tracking. eCall transmits data only when an accident is registered as well as when an emergency call is triggered. In order to initiate rescue operations, only data referring to the vehicle and the accident location is transmitted. It is not possible to draw conclusions about the driving style or to create motion profiles, because older data is permanently deleted. Third parties do not have access to the data of those involved in the accident – only rescue forces and authorized service providers get access.

A life saving experience

Retrofit eCall - a life saving experience

Retrofittable safety

For vehicles of older model series, the eCall system is not mandatory. According to figures of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, there are more than 46.5 million vehicles on the road in Germany. An average car in Germany is 9.3 years old, so many drivers will be depending on retrofit solutions for a long time. However, car drivers without an emergency call system on board can easily retrofit with the Telematics eCall Plug (TEP) from Bosch even without visiting a garage. This can easily be plugged into the cigarette lighter. The consumer gets the TEP from their car insurance provider and they can then download the app on his smartphone. In order to develop the TEP, Bosch worked together with the GDV, who is a service provider of the German insurances and experienced in emergency call processing with its call center in Hamburg.

 eCall Plug gets plugged into the cigarette lighter in a car

The TEP has gained more than 100,000 customers since its market launch in April 2016. According to the GDV, the TEP organized rapid help in more than 280 accidents last year. In 2017, the call center received more than 600 breakdown and accident reports. TEP customers make significantly fewer emergency calls than statistically expected – as a result, they are safer on the road than the average car driver is. In addition, here again, consumers do not have to worry: The TEP does not collect any data about the driver or his driving behavior. Data is only transferred via the app if an automatic or manual call for help is triggered. The app tracks only the last position identified by the smartphone without any transfer – older data is continuously overwritten. The data transmitted by the system in the event of an accident only contains information on the vehicle type, the time of the accident, and the accident location. Likewise, no data from the data set is used to reconstruct a damage or to clarify the question of responsibility. The Trusted German Insurance Cloud secures the data traffic and is certified by the German Federal Office for Information Security.

infographic showing how the telematics eCall can save lifes
infographic showing how the telematics eCall plug works

Rescue services are earlier at the accident location

A huge advantage of the retrofit solution is that the TEP – compared to the mandatory eCall – also detects minor collisions and then organizes help rapidly. Statistics from the GDV show that break down and rescue services were called every ten minutes in 2016 via motorway emergency call points. Totally, more than 53,000 emergency calls came from these points. However, since emergency call points cannot be found on every route and tend to diminish because of digitalization, the TEP can be a remedy. In the event of an accident, the TEP’s intelligent algorithms and motion sensors can detect the gravity of collision and classify the severity of an accident on a scale 1 to 4. This ranges from minor sheet metal damage without injury to high impact speeds with passengers likely to be seriously injured. Once an accident is registered, it is sent via Bluetooth to the accident-reporting app on the driver’s smartphone. The app then transmits this information without any delay to the GDV service center. A minimal data set is transferred which contains information about the accident severity, the exact location as well as the driving direction. Thus, the service center can decide more quickly whether the rescue service must be sent based on the accident’s severity. At the same time, a voice connection is established between the vehicle and the service center. If the driver does not respond and the transmitted data indicates a serious accident, the service center immediately initiates rescue operations.

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