Meeting in ERTICO headquarters in Brussels on 16-17 May, members of the Mobile Standards Group of the European Telecommunication Standardisation Institute (ETSI-MSG) and other transport and telecommunications stakeholders made good progress in the work to define specifications for eCall – the pan-European in-vehicle emergency call.
Generated either manually by a vehicle occupant or automatically via activation of in-vehicle sensors, an eCall will establish voice contact with the nearest emergency centre (Public Service Answering Point - PSAP) and automatically transmit a minimum set of data about the accident.
The development of the standardisation requirements that will enable the transmission of such in-vehicle voice and data to the PSAP will be the responsibility of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a collaboration effort between Europe, Japan, China, North America and South Korea, aimed at defining a globally applicable third generation (3G) mobile phone system specification. ETSI_MSG will provide recommendations on the path that 3GPP should follow.
Debating whether or not SIM cards should be required for eCalls, ERTICO Project and Development Manager Rasmus Lindholm pointed out that the ERTICO-coordinated eCall Driving Group has not put forth a firm requirement for the PSAP to be able to call back the vehicle, eliminating one justification for the use of SIM cards. The ability to identify the number calling has been another argument used to justify the need for SIM cards. However, as the minimum set of data transmitted to the PSAP includes the vehicle identification number - an alternative and equally good means of identification - this justification has been weakened. A report assessing the pros and cons of requiring SIM cards for eCalls will be published shortly by a group of network operators.
Discussing the timeline for work on the eCall standard, there was agreement that March 2007 should be the target date for completion.