Europe News: Germany and Austria sign eCall MoU

Europe News: Germany and Austria sign eCall MoU

The decision by Germany and Austria to support the deployment of the eCall accident assistance system is good news for the initiative, but there are still many obstacles to overcome, says automotive telematics consultancy SBD.

“With Germany and Austria pledging their commitment to eCall, it gives the European Commission a window of opportunity to take advantage of renewed interest in the system that provides automatic location-enhanced help for drivers that have been involved in a collision,” said David McClure, SBD’s director of ITS & telematics.

“The Commission must now reopen discussions on the technical and institutional issues associated with the proposed pan-European eCall system,” said McClure.

These issues, specifically the business case and the use of in-car SIM cards for digital communications, are discussed in a new SBD report – The real prospects for eCall in Europe.

The German government’s commitment to eCall is particularly important as it is home to many of Europe’s leading vehicle manufacturers, and is also the leading market for new cars.

Increased support from mobile phone network operators and vehicle manufacturers is still needed for eCall deployment. SBD is concerned that the Commission’s 2010 target date for deployment in all new cars will not be achieved, despite the claim by Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner responsible for the information society, that the German decision means that implementation will go ahead.

eCall must be changed to achieve a better balance between the needs of vehicle manufacturers, network operators and Governments. According to SBD’s report, Governments will have to pay for upgrades to emergency call centres and vehicle manufacturers will have to cover the cost of the in-car equipment.

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