All new cars in Europe could soon be able to make automatic emergency phone calls if they crash, the European Commission has said.
The necessary technology and standards should be in place to make such a device a reality across the continent by 2009. The system would report the vehicle’s exact position and cut emergency response times dramatically, saving as many as 2000 lives a year.
The announcement comes just days after the EU heralded the availability within six months of anti-crash radar to detect imminent collisions and apply the brakes. However, the short-range radars that can detect collision dangers had been expected to become available by mid last year.
Motoring associations have welcomed the automatic emergency call system (eCall) but the major problem that has to be solved is who should answer the call. The police are already trying to reduce 999 calls and the ambulance service is prioritising calls.
The technology plan is that emergency services at a Public Service Answering Point (PSAP) located anywhere in the EU will answer the call and report the exact location of the accident.
The call can be triggered automatically or manually by someone in the vehicle
This system is that latest in a string of vehicle technology improvements. We already have automatic skid protection being touted as the 2006 must-have option and ideas such as dynamic structure enhancement are just round the corner. Automatic tolls are a reality in Europe and the government is studying satellite-based variable route charging as a way to even out congestion peaks. In-car GPS navigation systems incorporating speed camera and black-spot alerts were big sellers at Christmas.
What the hell is the world coming too ??