eCall systems: What are they and how do they work?

We've all seen those SOS buttons in some of our cars. But do you know how they work and when to use them? In this article we explain how eCall systems work.

By reducing the time it takes the emergency services to arrive at the scene of a collision, eCall systems have the potential to save many lives.

In short, eCall is an EU-developed, standardised, and mandated solution for automated emergency calling from vehicles. An abbreviation of “emergency call,” it is a relatively new piece of technology that works across the European Union.

As this is a European initiative designed to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision, it is beneficial to have when driving on the continent. For example, Irish drivers using their cars in France can expect to use their eCall system in exactly the same way as they would in Ireland.

eCall uses Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) which establishes the exact position of the vehicle even if off road, the vehicle details and direction of travel, and through its network notifies the emergency services. It is designed to automatically activate an emergency call if your car is involved in a serious collision when the vehicle impact sensors are triggered.

eCall Systems

The system can also be activated manually by pressing a button with the caption ‘eCall’ or ‘SOS’ which is usually located around the internal rear-view mirror area and can be pressed in the event of an emergency or if you have encountered a serious incident that requires the emergency services to be alerted.

A trained eCall operator would then be contacted, and will speak directly to whoever is in the vehicle while the emergency services respond as required. Although simple in how drivers can make use of it, eCall certainly has the potential to save many lives.

To learn more from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) about car safety features, technology and standards designed to keep you safe on the road CLICK HERE