Is eCall really safe ? If yes, to which degree ?

The M2M has big plans for the automotive sector: smart car, safe drive, and so on. Among these plans, one of the most debated is the eCall, the life saver. Yes, I know the car makers will hate me, but I think the current approach isn’t safe. Let me explain why.

First of all, in order for eCall to work flawlessly, it needs to be deployed with a 100% coverage. I mean by that that all the land must be covered.  The problem ? The tunnels, for instance. Are they covered 100% ? I don’t think so. The car accidents happen everywhere. Mostly where the sufficiency factors are gathered. The tunnels have been, from a historic point of view, a place where accidents not only happen , but when they do, more than one car is involved. Thus, the eCall must work. This can only happen when enough  coverage is provided. Today, that is not the case.

Another factor to be taken into consideration is the compliancy.  Will all the cars have the  eCall devices by 2015? 250 million cars is a big number and not all are equally suited for the standard eCall modules. The recent developments in the car industry have proven how difficult is to apply a same change to tens of millions of cars in a short period of time. Some  of the changes need time to be accepted by the drivers. The mandatory seatbelt has taken  many years to be implemented and still, today, many forget  to or do not use the belt. This leads to grave injuries in case of an accident.

Let’s not forget the cars not registered in EU-countries which may or may not have eCall devices. And what about other vehicles, like motorbikes, bicycles and so on. What about motorboats. What about mountain climbers who fall ?

The idea is excellent, but it is still an early initiative and the frame is not yet ready. Before implementing such an ambitious plan, one should consider the coverage of all of the bases. One must plan carefully each stage of the project. The deadlines must be realistic. The public must be educated about the change. Also, the price of the equipment should not be a factor of denial. With 250 million eCall devices in place, there should be possible to cut the price  down to an acceptable value.

One should begin looking for  small  achievements before seeking big results. A small countryside, with all the possible landscapes. Little by little, the successes will  gather and the public will notice that the eCall saves lives.

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