The safety device will alert emergency services in an event of a crash

Emergency call systems for cars have been around for a while, with brands like GM having OnStar that automatically dials emergency services if the device installed in the vehicle detects a crash or a break-in. This acts as a quick-response service in case of accidents and there is no one around the crash site to call in for help.

Christened as the “eCall”, this European initiative intended to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision will be mandatory in all new cars sold within the EU from April 2018. And a few industry sources say that this might come in handy when they mandate for motorcycles as well.

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BMW “Intelligent Emergency Call”

I mean, why not? More than cars, motorcyclists will be more prone to a crash that can deem the necessities of emergency services. This might as well make all the difference between life and death for a motorcyclist.

BMW Motorrad has been the first maker to introduce this SOS system on their motorcycles as an option from the beginning of 2017 in Europe. It’s called “Intelligent Emergency Call.” In the case of an accident, the system sends the GPS location of the accident site to the ambulance/police for them to track it via Galileo. The signal can be made to send automatically or manually.

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Sensors detect G-forces and other discrepancies

The automatic signal is sent via the mobile phone network module that feeds its information from the lean angle and acceleration sensors. If a significant discrepancy in the sensor signals is detected, the automatic SOS will last until the responders reach the spot. And in the case of minor falls, the automatic signal can be cut off manually at a press of a button if no help is necessary.

The manual SOS will come in handy if the rider wishes to call for help for other road users in need of medical assistance. A microphone and a loudspeaker allows the rider to communicate with the backend team sitting to direct calls and location to the medical and law enforcement agencies.

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The module sends live signal to emergency responders

All of this will ensure the emergency crew gets to the scene of the accident 40 to 50 percent faster. This system will end up saving around 2,500 lives every year in Europe alone, and also will save € 26 billion ($31 billion) in the process.

This optional service was available by BMW Motorrad in Germany first and then was also introduced quickly to further European markets and models. The module dials 112 in Europe, 911 in the USA, 000 in Australia and such when the SOS is triggered.

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Sentinel module

There are, however, many aftermarket automatic SOS emergency alert systems in the market and many being developed. Australian folks have the Sentinel which is a fire, water, and chemical resistant device and can handle 100 G-forces. It detects fire and water submersion also.

Similar initiatives have been on in Russia with a fully interoperable system called “ERA-GLONASS” being deployed, with the aim to require an eCall terminal and a GPS/GLONASS receiver in new vehicles by 2015-2017.

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GM OnStar

It’s unclear, though, if or when the system will ever be available for US customers. There isn’t any other manufacturer except GM that offer similar emergency safety technology on their cars and BMW on motorcycles. It is high time for it to be made mandatory in the US also, regardless of civil libertarians fearing agencies tracking their every movement.


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