In June 2012, three years ahead of the planned obligatory date set by the European Commission, Mercedes-Benz eCall, the vehicle emergency call system, was launched.
In the event of a serious accident, the emergency services can be notified automatically and be informed of the precise location of the accident and the car model within just a few minutes. The Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is standard in the latest version of the COMAND Online multimedia system. Except for possible mobile phone charges, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call service is completely free of charge to Mercedes-Benz customers. The service is now available in nineteen European countries.
After a serious accident every second counts. The Mercedes-Benz emergency call system uses this crucial phase and can notify the emergency services automatically after a serious crash. If the airbags or belt tensioners are deployed and COMAND Online is linked to a mobile phone, the precise GPS position of the vehicle and the vehicle identification number (VIN) are sent via text message (SMS) to the emergency call centre of the Bosch Communication Center, and at the same time the location data are transmitted via DTMF (dual-tone multi-frequency signalling). Even if the occupants are unconscious, or for example are on holiday and do not know exactly where they are, the Communication Center can inform the emergency services quickly and precisely.
In addition, the vehicle will quickly set up a call to the Bosch Communication Center. And a particularly practical feature which can be helpful in an emergency: the call is not conducted in the language of the country, but in the language which the driver has programmed in to COMAND Online. An emergency call can also be made manually, as “Mercedes-Benz emergency call” is always the first entry in the phone book. Geographically, eCall is being phased in in several stages: on 1 June 2012 the automatic emergency call system was introduced in nine European countries – Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. From 1 January 2013, ten more will follow: Norway, Finland, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Luxemburg and Malta.
As part of the eSafety initiative, the European Commission has ruled that by 2015 eCall technology should be available in all new cars. EU Commission sources have found that with the help of an immediate eCall giving the coordinates of the accident scene, the time the emergency services take to arrive could be reduced by 50 percent in rural areas and 40 percent in towns. This could mean up to 2500 fewer road deaths per year in the EU.