The I_HeERO Pilot Project hosted a Webinar on eCall for Heavy Goods Vehicles on 14 December, presenting an overview of current knowledge and insights into the future of eCall technology.

I_HeERO Activity 2 is concluding its work on the implementation of eCall for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV), long-distance buses and coaches, extending the potential benefits of eCall to road safety to a new category of vehicles. More than 20 partners actively participated in collecting requirements, creating technical specifications, and developing and testing potential solutions.

It was concluded that in case of HGVs, the information on the vehicle’s cargo is crucial to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to make efficient decisions regarding dispatching actions, especially in cases where vehicles transporting dangerous goods are involved in an accident. The Electronic consignment note (e-CMR) has been identified as the easiest way to transfer shipment information to the authorities. The e-CMR is on its way to become an international standard (under UN/CEFACT), and has been to date adopted by several countries as an official document.

An optimal architecture for PSAP access to cargo information has yet to be defined, keeping in mind strict requirements for data security, trust, and privacy requirements while still allowing for a straightforward implementation. One proposed solution is decentralized, based on a Public Key Infrastructure system (PKI), while the other is centralized with an option to rely on the existing EUCARIS infrastructure.

As for buses and coaches, it is crucial to provide emergency services with the estimated number of passengers on board at the time of the accident, in order to dispatch an adequate number of rescue vehicles. This information can be best provided by on-board sensors, such as infrared sensors and cameras, and by existing passenger count systems.

Additional knowledge has been gathered throughout the development and testing of in-vehicle systems and PSAP solutions that support eCall for lorries, long distance buses and coaches. Many of the developed solutions have been presented at important events, such as the ITS Congress in Strasbourg (June 2017), or during the I_HeERO eCall for HGVs demo tour covering Torino, Ljubljana, Athens and Ostrava between October and November 2017.

In addition to operational, technical and ergonomic issues, the Activity 2 partners also studied the existing legislation and proposed adjustments to type-approval regulations and amendments to the existing legal framework in order to facilitate the adoption of eCall also for lorries, long-distance buses and coaches.

Getting to the scene of an accident is always a journey to the unknown, especially when heavy goods vehicles are involved. Having the information on the cargo beforehand would help us to properly respond and get to the site prepared, for example wearing protective gear. This would help us limit the consequences of the accident, avoid additional injuries and also keep us safe‘ says Jure Dolinar, from the Ljubljana Fire Department.

‘During the project, we received from a variety of stakeholders a confirmation that eCall also needs to be implemented in heavy goods vehicles” says I_HeERO Activity 2 leader Gorazd Marinic, from IRU Projects. ‘It was well acknowledged by rescue services, road authorities and transport operators that introducing eCall in lorries offers a high potential to save lives and avoid damage to the environment. It is therefore crucial to provide the rescue services with information on the cargo in case of an accident. Official recognition and adoption of the e-CMR protocol can substantially facilitate the deployment and increase the benefits of eCall for HGVs’.

I_HeERO Activity 2 partners will continue to tackle the potential challenges and barriers in cross-border accident scenarios, especially focusing on the interoperability of eCall with the Russian ERA-GLONASS satellite navigation suite.

Read the Webinar presentation here: I_HeERO Activity 2 Webinar – eCall for HGVs, buses and coaches


About eCall

eCall is a 112 emergency call triggered either manually by vehicle occupants or automatically as soon as an in-vehicle sensor detects a serious collision. When activated, eCall establishes a voice connection with the relevant Public Service Answering Point.

Using the voice line, a Minimum Set of Data (MSD) is sent to the PSAP operator. The most important data is the accurate geo-location of the collision scene, and the exact make and model of the vehicle. Knowing the exact location of the collision is vital, allowing the rescue services to arrive much faster at the scene. Time saved translates into lives saved.

Getting immediate information about a collision and pinpointing its exact location cuts emergency services’ response time by 50% in rural areas, 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 collisions 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 mandatory in the European Union from March 2018, and operational in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.