Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Emergency call E112: More accurate EU satellites can locate you faster

Emergency call E112: More accurate EU satellites can locate you faster
Published on: 14/12/2018
The European Commission has adopted new measures to more precisely locate people in emergency situations and increase the effectiveness of relief operations. Under the new EU rules, all smartphones sold in the EU will have to send the precise location of the person calling 112 to the emergency services.

The location will be determined using signals from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), including the European Galileo programme (outdoors), as well as Wi-Fi signals (indoors).

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said: "Thanks to our space programmes, we can give more specific information to rescue teams and help those who need it more quickly and more efficiently. The European satellite navigation programme Galileo will allow emergency services to find a location to within a few meters. This has the potential to save many lives."

Currently, location information is established through identification technology based on the coverage area of ​​the cellular network tower. Its average accuracy varies from 2 km to 10 km, which can lead to significant search errors following emergency calls. In contrast, location information based on Galileo provides accuracy to within a few meters. The new standards will become mandatory for all smartphones 36 months after the entry into force of the regulation.

Most smartphones already have the technology to meet new standards. Earlier this year (31 March 2018), a system similar to E112 was introduced for all new car models (passenger cars and vans). This is the eCall system, which automatically calls 112 in the event of a serious accident and communicates the location of the vehicle to emergency services using satellite positioning. Emergency response times can be improved by 40% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas.

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