6 new European countries join HeERO, an international project aiming to deploy eCall, the in-vehicle service that could save several hundred lives in Europe yearly.
14 January 2013, Madrid – 6 new countries, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey, are meeting in Madrid to share common goals and further steps to successfully implement eCall, a service based on the common European Emergency number 112. This meeting marks the beginning of the second phase of HeERO (Harmonized eCall European Pilot), an international project that coordinates pilot sites in 19 countries working together to deploy the EU-wide eCall.
As from 2015, eCall, a new telecommunications service aiming to enhance road and general safety, will become reality in all EU Member States. eCall could save several hundred lives yearly by establishing a direct connection with voice and location data between the vehicle and the 112 services in case of a car crash.
“All countries committed to develop the local 112 eCall infrastructure will benefit from learning about best practices from other EU Members and Associated States within the framework of the HeERO project”, comments Gary Machado, Executive Director of the European Emergency Number Association, EENA.
eCall is an electronic safety system which automatically calls the emergency services in case of a serious accident, even when the driver and passengers are unconscious. As soon as the eCall device senses a severe impact during an accident, it automatically initiates a 112 emergency call to the nearest emergency centre and transmits the exact geographic location of the accident scene and other data. eCalls can also be made manually by car occupants, thus enabling them to provide the call centre with additional details of the accident.
Getting an immediate alert in the event of an accident and pinpointing the exact location of the crash site can cut emergency services’ response time by 50% in rural and 40% in urban areas. Thanks to this gain in time, eCall is expected to save several hundred lives in the European Union each year, and to mitigate the severity of tens of thousands of injuries. Road accidents cost the EU around €160 billion/ year, but if all cars were equipped with the eCall system, up to €20 billion could be saved annually. eCall will be available all over the European Union, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
HeERO addresses the pan-European in-vehicle emergency call service “eCall” based on 112, the common European Emergency number. For three years (January 2011 to December 2013), the nine European countries forming the HeERO 1 consortium (Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania and Sweden) carried out the start-up of an interoperable and harmonised in-vehicle emergency call system.
The second phase of the HeERO project – HeERO 2 – started on 1st January 2013 and will last 2 years. 6 new countries (namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey) have joined the other 9 pilot sites of HeERO 1. Furthermore, other countries who wished to become HeERO partners, but have not succeeded for several reasons, became associate partners, a status allowing them to benefit from the expertise of HeERO 1 and 2 but not granting them access to EC funding.
The HeERO consortium is currently testing and validating in real conditions pilots the common European eCall standards defined and approved by the European Standardisation Bodies.
The project is partially funded by the European Commission under the ICT PSP programme.
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