Bosch buys stake in smartphone crash alert company

Bosch Service Solutions has announced it’s buying a minority stake in the American startup Sfara, which offers app-based technologies for mobile devices that detect vehicle collisions and other emergencies.

The New Jersey-based company has been working with Bosch for more than a year on the solution in which a user’s smartphone triggers an emergency call when a collision has happened.

“With this investment in Sfara, we are strengthening collaboration between our two companies and will continue our joint effort to expand the successful Bosch eCall emergency and breakdown service,” commented Henning von Boxberg, President of Bosch Service Solutions.

The system is akin to eCall, which has been mandatory in new cars sold in Europe for nearly three years. Technology developed by Sfara now makes it possible for drivers to use this digital aide via a smartphone in vehicles without the eCall installed, usually in older vehicles that don’t include the necessary technology.

They say this way, a significantly greater number of road users can benefit from this emergency call system and can automatically get help in the event of an accident. Users can also access eCall outside the vehicle from their smartphones, for example when moving around on foot.

“We are delighted to be working with a well-known investor such as Bosch, and pleased that our technology can play a valuable part in expanding Bosch’s global eCall service portfolio,” says Erik Goldman, the CEO of Sfara.

Bosch says smartphone-based eCall means that vehicle manufacturers, auto insurers, and fleet operators can offer a comprehensive accident and breakdown service to their customers – independent of the age of their car or means of transport.

Accelerometers, GPS and other sensors embedded in modern smartphones are used by Sfara’s proprietary app-based technology to detect accidents and suppress false positives. If an accident is detected, the app automatically triggers an emergency call to a Bosch service location and simultaneously transmits information necessary to get first responders to the scene quickly. An emergency call can also be triggered manually.

Bosch says it plans to extend the eCall service further with its partners and make all steps involved in accident and breakdown management available in digital form to its business customers. These range from the first notification of loss or accident, to repair and towing services and the provision of a replacement vehicle and claims management.

Financial details of the deal have not been published.

(Picture – Bosch)

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