Connectivity must be available everywhere for in-vehicle emergency calling to be effective

Self-driving vehicles will dramatically reduce or altogether eliminate motor vehicle accidents and accompanying casualties, fatalities and property damage. That is the hope of the automotive community of manufacturers, suppliers, regulators and visionaries working to make autonomously operated vehicles a reality.

NHTSA estimates that 94% of the time, accidents resulting in fatalities are caused by human error. If humans can be taken out the equation, logic suggests our roads invariably will become safer but we’re not there yet.

Until then, unfortunately, accidents will happen. People will continue to drive tired, aggressively, impaired by drugs and alcohol, angry, distracted or just plain poorly.

With this reality, regulators and the automotive community now are working to arm connected cars with automated emergency calling technology intended to give drivers and passengers involved in a wreck a better chance of getting needed help, while providing authorities and emergency responders with the ability to more quickly and accurately locate and respond to a crash site.

Vehicles equipped with automated emergency call technology can signal authorities when a crash has occurred and transmit vital location data, essentially giving the vehicle the ability to communicate with authorities even if the driver is incapacitated, and provide more granular data regarding location, type of incident, and occupants than even an alert driver or passenger can provide.

In some cases, the system also may be able to establish a voice call between those inside the vehicle and emergency response. With Automated Crash Notification (ACN), or eCall, the vehicles’ nerve centre can detect whether an airbag deployed or if there was a sudden deceleration or acceleration and send codes to responders to advise as to what might have happened in the vehicle. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.

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