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eCall system comes to the rescue of motorists in UAE

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‘eCall’ system will enable vehicles to call emergency services for help if involved in accidents. 

Dubai - In its efforts to achieve the 2021 goal of zero road fatalities, the General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector (TRA) has decided to implement ‘eCall’ system, which will enable vehicles to call emergency services for help if involved in accidents.

The mobile networks who were entrusted with the task of conducting an assessment test confirmed that they are eCall ready to serve the residents and nation. This positions the UAE as the first in the region to implement the innovative technology for road safety and reducing the number of deaths in traffic accidents.

Majid Sultan Al Mesmar, TRA Acting Director-General, said: “This is a major milestone for the UAE. It has proven that the infrastructure of the licensed mobile networks is able to accommodate innovative services such as the automatic eCall system. This connects vehicles with the competent authorities in the event of any road accidents. The eCall system is here to save lives, as it reduces the time to alert rescue services due to its location accuracy.”

eCall provides a mechanism for automatically connecting the car to the authorities handling emergency situations. It is an electronic safety system enabling a car to automatically call emergency services in case of an accident. Once the eCall device in the car senses a severe impact during an accident, it automatically initiates an emergency call to the nearest emergency centre and transmits the exact geographic location of the accident scene. Whether the call is made manually or automatically, there will always be a voice connection between the vehicle and the emergency call centre in addition to the automatic data link. In this way any car occupant capable of answering questions can provide the call centre with additional details of the accident just like a standard emergency call.

In order to ensure network readiness, TÜV Rheinland Middle East, an international service provider in independent testing and inspection, examined the mobile networks and confirmed that they are eCall ready.

The TRA has allowed TÜV Rheinland Middle East in cooperation with NavCert, a global eCall laboratory, to conduct an assessment testing the mobile networks operated by etisalat and du. The report results have confirmed that both networks are eCall ready.

The eCall readiness of du and etisalat was evaluated during January-February 2015 with respect to conformity and performance. The assessment was done with reference to international standards without disturbing the existing infrastructure. NavCert used state of the art simulators, used in more than 40 organisations and 25 countries to perform thousands of test calls during the survey. The survey covered more than 5,000km of the UAE’s roads, including all seven emirates, the Western Region and major highways. The measured values of du and etisalat were compared to those of other mobile networks to allow a fair assessment of the performance and functionality of the UAE’s mobile networks, which proved sufficient performance of eCall functionality.

“The nation’s mobile phone networks are based on the latest global technologies and technical standards. They are continuously and periodically updated, to remain compatible with the latest technological developments,” said Saif bin Ghalaita, TRA director of technology development department, project manager.

Additional information sent by the system to the emergency centre may include, accurate and comprehensive details of the incident site, as well as to determine the type of vehicle and whether it was carrying hazardous materials. The eCall system can also be integrated with other entities responsible for roads and traffic safety systems, so as to obtain more accurate results and updates, with regards to the ongoing road incidents.

For the successful implementation of eCall in the UAE, cooperation between the Ministry of Interior, vehicle manufacturers and the TRA is essential, making the integration of the system mandatory in all vehicles.

Etisalat and du will also play an integral role in analysing the project and auctioning plans through the next phase of implementing the initiative.


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