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Silicon Valley Automotive Open Source Message Board › European eCall 2015 wireless transmitter initiative

European eCall 2015 wireless transmitter initiative

Alison C.
user 8979363
Group Organizer
Mountain View, CA
Post #: 194
Rudolf J S.
Mountain View, CA
Post #: 2
The European eCall initiative has been discussed for many years and it poses some interesting technical and organizational challenges and it can help to solve some real problems.

Unlike the US where you can travel thousands of miles from coast to coast and the Mexican border to the Canadian traveling by car in Europe often means crossing borders and that most of the time also means crossing a language border. Where do you dispatch the e-call from a Dutch family's car to that has an accident on a road in Italy? Of course, the local first responders are best equipped to help but they don't speak Dutch. But the technology would give the opportunity to loop in a Dutch-Italian interpreter who may be located anywhere.

While pretty much all European countries are using GSM mobile networks and data and voice roaming is technically almost a non-issue the fee structure of course is. E-calls should be free of charge.

I have been to a couple of conferences where the eCall initiative was discussed. Everybody was hyped up about what it can do and of course the business potentials for the various players. However, who is actually going to pay for it seems to be one of the greatest mysteries (or maybe not).

The car companies say: "We asked our customers if they want to have an eCall transmitter. They of course said, sure we do. When we asked if they are willing to pay $300 for it. The answer was no."

The network operators say: "We have to build out our infrastructure for it but we will not be getting any additional revenue from it because the calls will of course be for free."

The insurance companies say: "For us the notification is after the fact. The accident has already happened and we will have to pay for the damage anyway."

In Europe public entities mostly operate dispatch centers and first responders. And even if they don't it's always paid for by tax money that never seems enough. Look at Greece, Spain, Italy...

By 2015 a EU ruling will require that car makers equip their cars with the transponders. Of course, it will happen because politics never fails in exerting power over the private sector and the end customer will be paying for it. The network operators will build out their networks. But the public sector responsible for dispatching and providing the first responders will lack behind, more or less dependent on the country.

BTW, the situation in the US does not look much better. A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to have a look inside a dispatch center in San Diego. Ancient technology.... scary. You better hope you never need it. At least the hospitals were able to exchange status information on their triage and trauma centers in real-time so that the dispatcher does not send the ambulance to a hospital that is already at capacity. BTW, every ambulance had an electronic data logger for the patient's vitals. You guess how the patient's pulse, blood pressure, temperature, etc. were transmitted to the hospital....
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