On 2 March 2015, the European Council adopted a position on type-approval requirements for fitting eCall devices in new motor vehicles. The EU-wide eCall system is aimed at speeding up emergency response services in case of a road accident.
In accordance to the Council position, as of 31 March 2018, all manufacturers of cars to be sold in Europe will be required to equip their new models with an in-vehicle GNSS-based eCall device. The wireless system will automatically trigger a distress signal to the 112-based eCall interoperable service in the event of an accident, using GNSS technologies to indicate the precise location of the incident.
Once the system is fully operational, authorities expect emergency response time to be cut in half, improving the outcome for people injured and reducing the number of deaths in road accidents throughout the European Union.
Drivers and passengers will also be able to use a manual control system to call the 112 emergency number themselves, and it will be virtually impossible to trigger the manual signal accidentally.
“Galileo and EGNOS play key roles in the eCall initiative,” says GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “By providing more accurate location information, emergency and rescue operations can deliver more efficiently and effectively, making eCall a clear example of how European GNSS can contribute to saving lives.”
Not only will eCall devices be compatible with the Galileo and EGNOS satellite navigation systems, but manufacturers will also be able to ensure compatibility with other navigation systems.
Vehicle owners will still be able to access to third party services in addition to the 112-based eCall system. However, these additional services should not affect the functioning of the 112-based eCall in-vehicle system.
Privacy and data protection
Taking into account public concerns about privacy and data protection, vehicles equipped with the system will not be subject to constant tracking, and data on the location of the vehicle will be continuously erased. Nor will any data be communicated to third parties without the specific consent of the vehicle owner.
Finally, detailed technical rules will prevent the exchange of personal data between the eCall in-vehicle system and third-party systems. All of this means your right to privacy and protection of your data is ensured.
The Council's position follows an agreement reached with the European Parliament last December. Thus, the Parliament is now expected to confirm the Council's position without amendments at a vote before this summer.
All eCall system infrastructures should be in place by 1 October 2017 and its use will be available to all and free of charge.
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