The start-up eCall consultancy and solutions company VESOS is welcoming the new crash detection feature on iPhones, but says it’s “far from” the end of a need for the eCall emergency alert system.
Apple has announced that its new iPhone 14 models include a feature which allows users to send an Emergency SOS via satellite to text emergency services when they are away from wifi and cellular coverage.
In a LinkedIn post, the founders Andy Graham, Andy Rooke, Danny Woolard and Alan Gentle write that since the world launch of Crash Detection has been often asked – “is this the end of eCall then?” – and replies “far from it”.
The post reads, “Instead, we welcome the innovation from Apple and Google, as it will add many new devices able to report limited alert information to the emergency services and road operators, alerts that include the location of a collision or event. This means the number of reporting vehicles / drivers will increase far faster than eCall alone, which is only installed in new vehicles. A severe collision/ rollover in any age passenger car with a new Apple phone or watch or Google pixel phone will now have its location passed to emergency services, meaning that alert services can help many more vehicles. We have been expecting announcements along these lines for some time and have prepared our TeCall solution to be scalable beyond eCall.
“However, there are significant differences between eCall and Apple/Google Crash detection:
– Unlike the Apple approach, eCall knows the vehicle identity, fuel type, number of passengers, and direction that the vehicle has travelled, along with the vehicle’s two previous locations and not just a single location. This data adds great value for the emergency services in planning a response and for road operators in managing incidents
– eCall has a manual activation, so you can report other people’s collisions and emergencies such as a passenger being taking ill, all with automatic location identification
– eCall will be automatically activated by airbag deployment, when your vehicle will need recovery, even if the collision was not severe enough to trigger Apple/Google detection parameters
– eCall is fitted to vans as well as cars and may shortly be fitted to motorbikes, coaches LGVs and agricultural vehicles. Apple’s solution is currently for car type vehicles and pickups.
We see a blend of eCall and Apple/Google devices as increasing information for emergency services and road operators, and hence an increasing role for VESOS knowledge and the TeCall platform.
eCall is a built-in safety feature which automatically activates in the event of a collision when the airbags are deployed. It can also be manually activated by the driver or passenger by pressing a button to report something they see, like a stopped vehicle on a live motorway. VESOS has been delivered to improve the use and benefits of the automated eCall safety systems built into almost every new car and van on our roads.
Danny Woolard of VESOS said: “I am convinced this is a major contribution to road safety, but as the volume of data will increase very rapidly, road operators and 999/112 services need to learn the lessons we have captured from eCall since its introduction in 2018”
Andy Graham added, “I have worked on the world’s oldest connected cars (a 1900 Daimler), and now simply adding an iPhone to them adds another tool for improving safety. It means a retro fittable solution anyone buying a new IPhone or watch will get automatically. We just need to use the data correctly.”
Alan Gentle commented: “We have been looking at the rise of eCall data since 2018 and will be keeping an eye on just how fast the data volumes grow. Its going to be important to avoid a tsunami of raw data being sent to road operators and instead distil the feed down to the alerts they need – something we particularly designed our TeCall platform to do.”
You can read the full post here.
(Picture – National Highways)