ATX’s proposed self-dispatching approach to managing eCalls from vehicles combines the two approaches to eCall deployment recognized by the European Commission.
The self-dispatch approach offers a significant advantage to vehicle manufacturers because it provides a thin client approach. Complexity is moved from the in-vehicle head unit to the telematic service provider’s servers, thereby ensuring that updated software or algorithms do not leave legacy vehicles with incompatible systems. Automobile manufacturers also maintain greater control on the routing of call and data and receive value in retaining eCall statistics.
This proposed self-dispatching eCall solution overcomes many of the most difficult hurdles that have deterred deployment for nearly a decade:
* The solution doesn’t require any costly system upgrades within the myriad of local emergency response centers or PSAPs (public safety answering points), which have varying levels of technical capability in their infrastructures, protocols in their operations and training, and funding available for system enhancements and/or integration with a pan-European 1-1-2 emergency network.
* The self-dispatching approach can accommodate either an in-band or SMS technical solution for linking the vehicle and PSAP, which has often been at the heart of a technical debate in setting cross-border standards.
* Perhaps its most critical factor is its low cost, particularly when viewed in terms of its technical functionality over the lifetime of the vehicle. Its reliance on data communications significantly reduces the two principal costs encountered in agreements with third-party service providers – the cost of staffing a 24x7x365 call center and wireless communications costs.
“This is a solution designed to be flexible, providing the practical need to ensure that the voice and data portions of every eCall are transmitted to the same PSAP as well as continually maintaining and enhancing positioning algorithms and PSAP databases,” said Arnaud de Meulemeester, ATX managing director in Europe.
The self-dispatching approach also incorporates the dramatic advances in interactive and automated voice response technologies that were unproven when the European eCall process began nearly a decade ago. Text-to-speech conversion is now well developed and market proven among the growing number of connected vehicles, providing a viable solution to cross-border language issues, relying less on the need to continually upgrade in-vehicle hardware and data storage or having to invest in the overhead of a TSP with native-language calltakers based in each EU member state.
The emergence of personal Web sites associated with ownership of a “connected” vehicle also offers greater potential for third-party centers to append customer-provided emergency data that is of interest to emergency medical response personnel.
“Our primary objective is to take what ATX has learned from more than a decade of service in two regions (Europe and North America) and ensure flexibility for future solutions,” said de Meulemeester. “Tomorrow, it is very likely emergency responders will want even more data — more personal and more detailed positioning data on vehicle occupants as well as more data on circumstances prior to impact.”
“The technology is available in the market today, providing flexible eCall solutions that can work in any car and in any European country, said de Meulemeester. “It is time for a paradigm shift on eCall: one that recognizes market realities while quickly achieving the overarching goal saving more lives on European roadways.”
Note: ATX has joined a DEUFRAKO pilot project designed to test different eCall deployment solutions for locating vehicles involved in cross-border emergency situations between France and Germany. Click here to learn more.