On 18 October Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Slovenia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which all new cars in Europe are to be equipped with automatic emergency call (eCall) technology as soon as 2009, in line with an action plan agreed by the Commission and industry in February this year. The eCall MoU had already been signed earlier by Finland and Sweden.

"I am confident that with this clear support from the Member States and from the industry, eCall will be a reality for EU citizens by 2009" Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media

A Commission meeting with 20 EU Member States in Brussels on 18 October confirmed that eCall is on track for the 2009 launch. Six Member States have now signed the eCall MoU. Five further Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands) said that they would do so very soon.

In the event of a crash, eCall technology will call the emergency services – which can be reached throughout Europe under the single European emergency number 112 – at a “Public Service Answering Point” (PSAP), and report your exact location. An eCall may be triggered automatically, or manually, by someone in the vehicle. Accurate location information will drastically cut emergency response time, thus saving lives and reducing the severity of the injuries. The Commission and the automotive industry agreed in February this year on an action plan aiming at introducing eCall in all new vehicles starting from 2009 (see press release IP/05/134).

The eCall road map targets end of 2005 for agreeing on eCall standardisation and specifications, 2006 for full scale field tests and 2009 as the year for introducing eCall technology in all new vehicles. This technology will use the location-enhanced single European Emergency Number (E-112).

To enable eCall technology to work, emergency services in the EU Member States will need to equip or upgrade their PSAPs to process eCall location reports at the latest in 2007. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on arrangements for implementing the plan, which sets out measures to be taken by the Commission, Member States and the automotive, telecoms and insurance industries, now has over 50 signatures from industry, European Commission and the Member States. The key aim of the MoU is to ensure that eCall technology will work in any EU Member State.

The Commission’s September 2005 Communication on eCall, “Bringing eCall to the Citizens”, strongly urged the national and regional governments to act and to invest in the necessary emergency care for eCall, with the view to a pan-European launch in 2009, and to promote eCall at national and international fora. The Commission is also promoting the use of 112 and is urging the Member States to improve their responses to 112 emergency calls (see press release IP/05/1239)

More information:

eSafety initiative

eScope - the eSafety observatory

i2010 initiative

The Commission’s Intelligent Car Flagship under the i2010 initiative: Questions and Answers