EU Directive 2015/758 requires that from 31 March 2018 all new passenger cars type-approved from that date must be equipped with an EU eCall system as standard [PDF]. This has long been the situation at Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes-Benz emergency call was launched back in 2012, and has featured as standard in all model series since Mercedes me was introduced in September 2014. Mercedes-Benz emergency call is currently available in 35 countries. As a particularly useful feature in an emergency abroad, communication takes place not in the language of the country in which the vehicle is situated, but in the language which the driver has set in the infotainment system.
Everyone is afraid of traffic accidents. Even worse is the thought of being unable to get help and not being found. Because every second can be vital after a serious accident. The Mercedes-Benz emergency call function is able to notify the rescue services automatically in the shortest of time after a serious crash, supplying them with the vehicle’s exact GPS position and other important information, such as the identified number of people in the vehicle (by reference to the locked seat belts) and the vehicle’s direction of travel.
All current Mercedes-Benz models are equipped with the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system as standard. The emergency call function is active free of charge throughout the vehicle’s entire lifecycle. It can be triggered automatically or by the driver pressing the corresponding button in the vehicle. Manual activation serves to report an accident which the driver has observed or to call for help if an occupant of the vehicle is experiencing health problems, such as a heart attack.
The emergency call function is triggered automatically after deployment of one of the pyrotechnic belt tensioners or an airbag in the car. The vehicle then establishes a voice connection with the Mercedes-Benz emergency call centre. If the emergency call centre does not receive a response, it will immediately alert the nearest rescue service.
The Mercedes-Benz emergency call centres responsible for Europe are located in Magdeburg, Berlin and Barcelona, while Mercedes-Benz drivers in Asia receive assistance from Tokyo, Shanghai and Manila. Over 3.5 million Mercedes-Benz vehicles are currently equipped with the system. This figure does not include vehicles sold in the USA, where Mercedes-Benz emergency call has been installed as standard in all passenger cars since 1998.
Mercedes-Benz emergency call is currently available in 35 European countries. These also include countries in which the service will not become compulsory on 31 March 2018.
Mercedes-Benz launched the emergency call function in combination with COMAND Online back in 2012. This mobile phone-based variant was followed in September 2014 by the permanently installed system in conjunction with Mercedes me. In this current version, the data are transmitted via the Mercedes me communications module with an integrated SIM card, i.e. independently of a mobile phone linked to the vehicle.
The European Mercedes-Benz emergency call centres receive some 20,000 emergency calls every month. According to the EU Commission, immediate notification by eCall coupled with forwarding of the accident coordinates could reduce the time the emergency services take to arrive 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.
Mercedes-Benz emergency call offers additional functions beyond the scope of the mandatory eCall system. The call is not conducted in the language of the relevant country, but in the language which the driver has programmed into the infotainment system. This is useful in an accident abroad – if a German holidaymaker has an accident in Spain, for example. The Mercedes-Benz emergency call centre then notifies the nearest rescue centre.
A further special feature of the Mercedes-Benz system is that in addition to data transmission via the Mercedes me communication module, the key data relating to the accident are also sent by SMS to the Mercedes-Benz emergency call centre – to make doubly sure that the information is received.
Further information on Mercedes-Benz emergency call is available here in English.
Did you know that…
…present-day Mercedes-Benz vehicles help to reduce consequential damage after an accident and provide assistance in rescuing the vehicle’s occupants? For example, in a severe accident the engine is automatically switched off and the hazard warning lights activated. Additional post-crash measures: when it is dark, the interior lighting comes on automatically, helping occupants to find their bearings. In some vehicles with the Memory package the steering wheel can be raised to make it easier to get out. And after deployment of the airbags, slightly lowered side windows at the front help to ventilate the interior.
…Mercedes-Benz has developed stickers with QR codes to make vehicle-specific design details quickly available to rescue services at the scene of an accident? Corresponding stickers are affixed to the fuel filler cap and to the B-pillar on the opposite side of the vehicle for this purpose. In the aftermath of an accident, rescue services can scan the QR code with a smartphone or tablet PC for fast and reliable access to the rescue card for the specific vehicle concerned, thus facilitating rescue operations. These stickers are available free of charge for simple application to vehicles dating from 1990 or later, and are affixed as standard to all new vehicles. A QR (“Quick Response”) code is a square-shaped matrix of black and white squares which represent the encoded data in binary form. The QR code complements the existing licence plate inquiry covering all makes of vehicle which has been developed by the Association of German Engineers (VDA) and the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK). Under this procedure, rescue services request vehicle data relating to the licence plate number which are stored at the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). Special software matches the KBA vehicle data with the rescue data sheets for every model series and is installed in the database of the emergency services control centre.
…Mercedes-Benz offers an Active Emergency Stop Assist system? This system is able to brake the vehicle to a standstill in its lane. If there is no steering wheel movement over a pre-defined period when Active Steering Assist is active, the system gives the driver a visual and audible prompt to place their hands on the wheel. If the driver fails to respond after repeated visual and audible prompts, either by moving the steering wheel, accelerating, braking or by pressing the touch control button on the steering wheel or the DISTRONIC button, the car is slowed down in the identified lane until it comes to a standstill. At speeds below approx. 60 km/h the traffic behind is warned by means of hazard warning lights. When the vehicle comes to a standstill, the parking brake is engaged automatically and the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is activated. The vehicle is also unlocked, to allow first responders access to the interior. The functions are aborted as soon as the driver takes control of the vehicle again. Active Emergency Stop Assist is available in various Mercedes-Benz model series such as the new A‑Class in combination with the Driving Assistance package.
…other vehicles at a substantial distance from the scene of an accident can be warned with the aid of Car-to-X technology? Warnings of hazardous situations which are recognised automatically by the vehicle or reported by the driver are transmitted to other vehicles. For the purposes of Car-to-X communication, Mercedes-Benz uses the communication module with integrated SIM card which is installed in the vehicle. In the Daimler Vehicle Backend, the data are aggregated, checked for plausibility and forwarded to other similarly equipped vehicles in the relevant vicinity.
Under the microscope: Breakdown Management and Accident Recovery
POST-SAFE functions: Support in emergencies
Mercedes-Benz vehicles are among the safest cars in the world. Nevertheless, the possibility of an accident or breakdown cannot be ruled out. A whole range of systems in current Mercedes-Benz models support drivers and their passengers in such situations, too.
These measures serve to reduce consequential damage and assist in rescuing the occupants according to the type and severity of accident:
- Activation of the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system to notify emergency services of the location and emergency situation and initiate the rescue process. Data transfer via a communications module with its own SIM card.
- Shutdown of the engine and discontinuation of fuel supply to avoid fire hazards and unintentional vehicle movement.
- Shutdown of the high-voltage supply system (additional measure for hybrid and electric vehicles).
- Activation of hazard warning lights to secure the scene of the accident and protect occupants from a follow-on accident.
- Activation of interior emergency lighting to help occupants and rescue services find their bearings.
- Lowering of the front side windows in the event of airbag deployment – serves to ventilate the interior and help occupants to find their bearings.
- Opening of the central locking system to facilitate access to the interior for helpers.
- Raising of the electrically adjustable steering column (if the vehicle is equipped with this); facilitates exiting or access to the driver.
- Raising and illumination of the seat belt buckles on the rear seats (in conjunction with optional seat buckle extender in the S-Class); facilitates belt release.
- Crash gaps are integrated between the wings and the doors, making it easier to open the doors after a frontal collision.
- Warning of an identified breakdown and accident situation transmitted to Car-to-X communication to alert other road users to vehicles which have broken down or been involved in an accident.