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EU Parliament Adopts eCall Resolution 212

arisvega writes with news that the European Parliament has pass a resolution in support of eCall, an initiative to install devices in vehicles that automatically contact emergency services in the event of a crash. The resolution calls on the European Condition to make it mandatory for all new cars starting in 2015. "The in-vehicle eCall system uses 112 emergency call technology to alert the emergency services automatically to the location of serious road accidents. This should save lives and reduce the severity of injuries by enabling qualified and equipped paramedics to get to the scene within the first “golden hour” of the accident, says the resolution. The eCall system could save up to 2,500 lives a year and reduce injury severity by 10 to 15%, it adds."
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EU Parliament Adopts eCall Resolution

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  • by gfm ( 79509 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:17AM (#40538001)

    Considering all of the crazy technology we have in even the cheapest modern cars, it is amazing something like this isn't commonplace outside of high end systems like OnStar by now. Would love to see this in the US too.

    • OnStar is a bug (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They can silently listen in on you. Court filings have shown that this is in fact being done. Merely having the hardware provides this ability; you need not be a subscriber. (thus I refuse to buy a vehicle with OnStar)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well, we could stifle technological progress in order to prevent things like this. Just think of all the privacy we'd have if electricity had been outlawed at the start!

        Or, we could apply a system of checks and balances to address the root issue, which is that privacy is being violated, regardless of the means.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Or, we could apply a system of checks and balances to address the root issue, which is that privacy is being violated, regardless of the means.

          Politicians always promise "checks and balances" but then always make them either too weak or just remove them at a later date. For example when Icelandic banks started to collapse the UK used anti-terror legislation that was supposed to contain "checks and balances" to freeze their assets.

          The only solution seems to be to remove temptation by not allowing the system to be installed in the first place. I wish it were not so, but it is.

      • I see no reason you couldn't buy one with OnStar. A few simple cut wires should disable it.
        • Have you ever looked at the wiring of a car made in the last 5 years? There are so many wires going to so many places you need a mechanic's manual specific to that model/year of car (usually you can only buy "packages" of manuals, and NOT for cheap!), a box of wire labels and a continuity tester with 10 feet of wire on it. Then you have to start removing all the corrugated wire-wrap, zip-ties, black-box wire management modules and wiring harnesses and that car companies seem to have a fetish for. Good Luck!
          • Not a fetish (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:12AM (#40538975)
            Modern wiring harnesses are designed to be (a) fast to assemble and disassemble) (b) reliable (c) as foolproof as possible, hence the different connectors. Those of us with long memories can recall when cars had hardly any wiring at all, yet it was always going wrong (cables frayed, bullet connectors pulled, contacts corroded, mechanics connected the wrong wire during a service and nobody noticed till the brakes started the indicators flashing).
            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              Yes, but that design is focused on assembly rather than on modification or repair. If you are altering the factory wiring (by disconnecting OnStar), it can be a real pain.

              Besides that, why would I want to pay for the hardware that I never in a million years want active and help them fluff up their sales figures?

              If I find myself in the market for a new car, I will let them know that including OnStar is a deal breaker.

              Actually, I don't remember cars from the '60s having many problems with wiring (other than B

              • Actually, I don't remember cars from the '60s having many problems with wiring (other than British cars).

                You obviously never drove an Italian or French car then. Oh, and it was the 1970s when British cars were really bad, not the 1960s.

      • by f3rret ( 1776822 )

        I don't know anything about OnStar. But as far as I can eCall doesn't actually allow you to talk to anyone, so there wont be a mic in the car.
        If I understand it correctly then what this eCall system does is record your position and in case the system detects a crash of some sort it sends off a notice to the emergency services saying " crashed at "

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      OnStar really isn't highend, it's standard on all GM cars. A lot of dealerships will install a compatible unit if you ask them for it too. Hell you can go down to your local Bestbuy(yeah I know) and buy the stand alone unit for your car actually. They sell it aftermarket for $299, [] though, it's now apparently $99 and then it's $18.95/mo for the service or $199/yr.

    • Why not motorbikes?

      Having come off twice, though thankfully neither involving serious injury, I can safely say that I would absolutely welcome this kind of system on a bike. The biggest concern I have is coming off on a bend and going through a hedge. If I fall unconscious or break bones, it could be days before someone finds me in the brush, especially if it's farmland left fallow (which all the best roads go past).
  • by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:22AM (#40538039) Homepage

    We could save hundreds of thousands more lives if we just banned cars.

    (If you're reading this from Brussels, don't make this the next "European Policy Initiative".)

    • by kdemetter ( 965669 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:58AM (#40538259)

      Actyally : less cars wouldn't be a bad idea to reduce the amount of accidents ( a lot of accidents happen due to traffic jams ).
      But it doesn't need to be forced : ensure good public transportation, and people will use that instead of their cars.

      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        This could easily be encourage by adjusting taxes so that companies pay more for on site workers than they do for telecommuters. Currently, the employees pay the full burden of the cost of commuting. This leads most companies to take a no telecommuting stance, since it brings unknown risk with little to no reward. Make the cost/reward situation better for businesses that promote telecommuting and you reduce the number of cars on the road while improving the quality of life of the populace.
    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:11AM (#40538357) Homepage Journal

      We really should do this, starting with the largest cities. Start with the largest vehicles and work your way down, adding in public transportation as cars are eliminated. I really love to drive, right until I get into some shitty city where you can't do it meaningfully anyway. And cities are fucking horrible really, but they would be wonderful without the cars. The "freedom" of driving is largely illusory. Your car can be taken away from you at the drop of a hat and even if you get it back without paying anything you're not going to get anything for the time you spent without it.

      • Quite some cities (Amsterdam, Enschede and Den Haag in The Netherlands come to mind) do just that already. They build a large car park at the edge of the city, at the exit of the motorway, and run cheap and frequent shuttle buses or trams to the city centre.

        If you really want you're still allowed to enter the city by car, but if you want to park it in the centre you have to deal with higher parking fees if you can find a place to park; traffic jams; and trying to find your way (most cities' street plans res

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Your car can be taken away from you at the drop of a hat and even if you get it back without paying anything you're not going to get anything for the time you spent without it.

        The ability of the government to do that without ruining many people's lives is largely illusory. I know that for much of my life, if they had done that to me, I would likely have lost my job shortly thereafter (oh and don't talk about unfair dismissal rights - you only get them after 2 bloody years).

  • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:16AM (#40538399)
    "The in-vehicle eCall system uses 911 emergency call technology to alert the police automatically to the location of the smell of marijuana. This should aid in the war on drugs and reduce terrorism by enabling qualified and equipped homeland security agents to get to the scene within the "golden hour" of the first toke, says the resolution. The eCall system could save up to 2,500 politicians jobs a year and reduce corruption inquiries by 10 to 15%, it adds."
  • I guess it may help some people that crash in some remote place in the night (so basically where none would report it anyway).
    Unfortunately it solves pretty much the wrong problem. The biggest issue with help is not that it is not notified in time, but that it cant arrive in time. There is not enough ambulances and they often have to travel vast distance to help. Adding new source of calls wont help.
    Whats more they will now get more distracting calls from accidents that are resolved by participants or cops

    • Erm, are you talking about this from an american perspective or from an european?

      There are not many places in europe that are as isolated as you describe.

      And on top of that we have lots of ambulance helicopters.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:47AM (#40538563) Homepage Journal

    Allow me to sum up the first 5000 or so comments:

    • The sky is falling! They want to track us all! It's an evil government scheme for total surveilance! You are going to be monitored, it's Big Brother all over again. I thought it was 2012 and not 1984?
    • What for? Nobody ever gets into a car crash with nobody else around, especially in Europe. It's all a ploy by car manufacturers to sell something we don't need for a huge markup. Follow the money!
    • I don't want that in my car! The RF/EM/ESP/GPS/energy emissions will cause cancer! It's an evil alien ploy to... I don't know. Where's my tinfoil hat?

    Oh yeah, it's an evil conspiracy. Sure. "They" will monitor every car in the world through this, because... uh... no idea.

    Funny how geeks have become innovation-phobic. It used to be the other way around.

    • Hilarious.

      Insurance companies will use the data from these devices to get out of paying for insurance claims, regardless of fault.

      "So the other party was drunk, texting on their phone while applying make-up, driving 20MPH over the speed limit and also getting 'satisfaction' from his partner? Well I'm certainly sorry, but the log shows you didn't indicate on your approach to the junction. You could have avoided this whole thing. We're not paying for your medical costs or the damage to your car. Sorry to he
    • Or perhaps we've just been following the EU more closely than you?

      Just for example, MEP Kerstin Westphal recently pencilled in an amendment to mandate ABS on 125cc scooters just as the rubber stamp was descending on yet another Fun Ist Verboten Directive. Completely co-incidentally, Ms Westphal had just been on a "fact finding trip" to the Bosch ABS production facility in Bamberg, where she learned the fact that Bosch is ready to sell a new ABS system for scooters, and so a market needed to be created fo

  • who's going to pay for it?

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      who's going to pay for it?

      People who buy new cars in Europe?

    • In a cheap, $10,000 car, this will probably add less than $100 to the final price.

      So you will, if you buy a car in Europe.
      • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

        what about service? radio aint free anymore

        • Use the emergency call service of any available mobile network.

          Already when your phone is without SIM, or when you don't have your home network or a roaming network available, it will use any other available network to allow for emergency calls. This one as it's automatic will likely use SMS service, maybe data.

          All this system needs to have is a GPS receiver and a SIM-less mobile phone, both are cheap. Add an impact detection (link to the air bags?) and have the whole thing ruggedised, and you're set.

  • . . . if the motion detector registers serious jolts or shaking that could only be the results of an accident, it automatically calls 112. Just remember to turn it off when you engage is any extreme sports. Hell, why not just plug your phone into the car, and let the car use your own phone to do the calling?

    I hate it when devices are made mandatory. They always end up being piss-poor quality, designed by bureaucrat committees. If private companies can offer these things instead, with no "must" behind i

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      ABS (anti lock brakes) are also mandatory in cars here, and seatbelts. They usually work, because they are nod designed by the government. Why would the goventment design them? They just mandate some technology that does something, and let the manufacturers figure out how to make that.

    • I hate it when devices are made mandatory.
      Because you have no clue how procedures liek this work?
      They always end up being piss-poor quality,
      Can you point out one example?
      designed by bureaucrat committees. No, they are designed by the inventors who first invented them.
      If private companies can offer these things instead, Private companies are the ones who are offering this. Or do you think Mercedes Benz and Porsche a socialist owned companies?
      with no "must" behind it, they will come up with something cheap

  • by rcasha2 ( 1157863 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @02:31AM (#40538801)

    One problem is: How will it tell apart a serious accident in which people were hurt, and one in which the car was damaged but the people inside were unscathed. Once it gets installed in all cars, this could result in emergency services rushing to places where they are not needed, wasting time.

    • by bieber ( 998013 )
      If the people were left unscathed, then they'll be free to cancel the alert. It's a problem easily enough solved with a "Don't send the paramedics, please" button.
    • One problem is: How will it tell apart a serious accident in which people were hurt, and one in which the car was damaged but the people inside were unscathed.

      If the airbags went off, its probably worth sending a paramedic on a motorbike - if only to check that people weren't injured by a small explosive device going off inches from their face.

    • by ianare ( 1132971 )

      And how will you determine if people didn't get hurt without sending someone to check on them?

      At impacts likely to trigger the device, it's entirely possible for someone to be hurt and not even realize till the next day or so. This happens with neck and back injuries, not enough to notice until the person stretches or makes a bad movement, and then *extreme pain*

      So, better safe than sorry.

  • Ok, it's mandatory now, but where is the exact specification of the system ?

    I was involved in a eCall prototype device a few years ago and this was a totally crap technology. Basically this was a analog software modem on top of a GSM call, witch is a pretty stupid idea, given the fact that a SMS is a lot cheaper, reliable and faster to transmit the few data that eCall require. A few company proposed algorithms that aggressively abuse the GSM compression to pass a ridicule amount of data per second. All thos

    • by jcdr ( 178250 )

      For reference, here is the specification I have used for the work:

      The Qualcomm copyright information have been removed from the earlier revision. This do not grant that the algorithm is not protected by a patent.

      While searching on the Intern

      • by jcdr ( 178250 )

        Really, a such complex claim cannot be without a lock in goal:

        "8.2 In-Vehicle System Devices
        Subject to certain standard terms and conditions (e.g., protection for
        Qualcomm products as to the licensees or its customers patents),
        Qualcomm will not charge a royalty rate for a license for its patents
        essential to the 3GPP eCall in-band modem standard (3GPP TS 26.267
        and TS 26.268) in subscriber devices that

    • I'm also curious with anything based on cell technology, how the car obtains a life-time connection to a cell phone provider. Who would pay for it?
      • by jcdr ( 178250 )

        AFAIK, due to the fact that the system use an emergency call, no SIM card is required, so the cost will probably be billed to the emergency call center. I am not certain about that, Need verification.

      • by jcdr ( 178250 )

        AFAIK, the in vehicle mobile is probably offline except in case of a emergency event. Since this is a emergency call, it will start scanning to find any operator and pick one, maybe based one the signal quality or other factor. So I don't think that the in vehicle mobile is bound to any operator at all. I expect that the in vehicle mobile is SIM free.

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