Kranj hosting conference on eCall crash-assist system

Kranj, 11 October - More than 100 software and road safety experts convened in Kranj this week for an international conference on eCall, an EU-wide automatic crash-assist system, which member states must set up by the end of the year. The system conducts automatic calls from cars involved in crashes to emergency services across the EU.

Slovenia was the first EU member to introduce the system country-wide on 1 December 2015, Boštjan Tavčar of Slovenia's Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, which manages the country's emergency services, told the press.

Slovenia was able to do that in cooperation with a number of partners, including Telekom Slovenije and Iskratel, Tavčar added. The latter is hosting the five-day conference dubbed Testfest alongside Sintesio Slovenija, ERTICO/ITS and ETSI.

The conference in Kranj is attended by experts from 15 countries and some 40 companies, including Tesla, Volkswagen, Škoda, Robert Bosch, Yamaha and Huawei, only to name a few.

The event focuses on practical testing of inter-connectability of eCall units of different brands.

All new cars will have to be equipped with the eCall system as of 1 April 2018, while owners of older cars will be able to purchase eCall units to upgrade their cars for about EUR 100.

The system will deliver faster and more precise information relevant to the emergency services and will shorten the time in which first responders reach the site of the crash.

Slovenia's experience show that calls launched by the system are received at least three to four minutes earlier than the calls made by witnesses. Last year, the emergency services received 19 calls through the eCall crash-assist system.

It is estimated that the response time should be reduced by 40%, Tavčar told the press. He moreover said that faster response periods also saved money.

It is estimated that a minute saved translates into some EUR 500-700 in savings, he said. If the response periods will be cut through eCall and other new services, the amount of money saved would exceed the funding of the rescue services, Tavčar said.