System to be standard from April 2018
The European Parliament has voted for the emergency alert system eCall to be available on all vehicle types from April 2018. The system alerts rescue services automatically which ensures ambulance crews arrive at road accidents much faster.
The eCall technology was first proposed in 2012 but legislation did not happen as there were privacy concerns, with further developments and negotiations it has been agreed that only basic data will be used such as the location, time of accident, fuel used and type of vehicle. The information would only be transferred at the moment a serious accident occurs and the airbag sensors are set off. Reports suggest that a standard accident alert system is needed in Europe because once you cross the border there is a language problem and often motorists don't know where they are. There is no doubt the quicker response will save lives and the severity of injuries greatly reduced, there is also the option of making an eCall by pushing a button inside the car which means if you witness an accident you can report it and give the precise location.
However, the UK government objects to the plans, Claire Perry the UK Transport Minister said "the benefit of making eCall mandatory in all new cars does not justify the cost of implementing it. She is not in support of e-call as she believes it is not cost-effective. The European Commission say the installation of the eCall device is likely to add about €100 (£72) to the cost of a new car.
But what is the consequence of being connected all the time mean? Are there more possibilities to track us? Technology moves on day by day and it is probable that companies and authorities could track and surveil us, so should motorists have the chance to opt out ?
European car manufacturers are committed to improving safety outcomes, and the development of eCall is just one of many new aids designed to reduce road-related casualties. eCall could just be a good balance between saving lives and protecting data if manufacturers commit to protecting the customers privacy.