As HeERO expands, pan-European eCall moves to next step

Today, six new European countries join the pan-European project HeERO to develop eCall, the in-vehicle service that could save several hundred lives in Europe yearly.

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14 January 2013, Madrid - The ground-breaking vehicle safety system eCall took another step forward today with the launch in Spain of the second phase of HeERO (Harmonized eCall European Pilot). HeERO is an international project, supported by the European Union, that aims to help EU Member States in preparing pilot sites for the deployment of eCall in 2015.

eCall is a new road safety service based on the common European Emergency number 112. Using 112, the eCall system automatically calls emergency services if a vehicle is involved in an accident - even if the driver is unconscious or unable to respond. At the emergency call centre, the rescue services will be able to see the location of the accident. As they will also obtain information on the kind of vehicle involved (e.g. small two-seater or seven-seater family van), they will be able to send off the right rescue response immediately.

HeERO, which started in 2011 and will conclude in 2014, aims to prepare Pilot Sites in many EU Member States for the deployment of the eCall system in 2015.

Since January 2011, the nine European countries forming the HeERO consortium have carried out a three-year programme (HeERO 1) leading to the piloting and deployment of eCall. They are: Croatia, The Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands Romania and Sweden. Six new countries, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey, joined the second phase of the project (HeERO 2) on 1 January 2013.

The project has generated such a high level of interest that another four Associated Partner countries will participate at their own cost with another five countries hoping to join in the first quarter of 2013.

"This exciting project will bring this ground-breaking technology to life. The next steps will see the engagement of 19 pilot sites working together to ready those countries for eCall", explains the project coordinator Andy Rooke (ERTICO - ITS Europe).

Note to editors:
For further information and a video about the eCall system, please visit: www.heero-pilot.eu

For further information, please contact:
Andy Rooke, HeERO Project Coordinator
a.rooke@mail.ertico.com
+32 (0)2 400 07 80

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Background information

About HeERO:

HeERO addresses the pan-European in-vehicle emergency call service "eCall" which is based on 112, the common European Emergency number. Since January 2011, the nine European countries forming the HeERO consortium (Croatia, The Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania and Sweden) have carried out a three-year programme leading to the piloting and deployment of eCall.

The second phase of HeERO - HeERO 2 - started on 1st January 2013 and will last for 2 years. 6 new countries (namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey) have joined the 9 pilot countries of HeERO 1. Furthermore, the project will welcome new associate partners, both commercial and public, who feel that they will be able to benefit from the expertise of HeERO 1 and 2 (associate status does not provide access to EU funding).

The HeERO consortium is currently testing and validating, in real-condition pilots, the common European eCall standards defined and approved by the European Standardisation Organisations.  

The project is partially funded by the European Union under the ICT PSP programme.

About eCall:

eCall is an electronic road safety system which automatically calls the emergency services in case of a serious accident, even if the driver and passengers are unconscious. As soon as the eCall sensors register a severe impact on the car during an accident, it automatically dials 112 emergency and calls to the nearest emergency centre. The call transmits the exact geographic location of the accident scene and other data. eCalls can also be made manually by car occupants, thus enabling them to provide the call centre with additional details of the accident.

Getting immediate information about an accident and pinpointing the exact location of the crash site cut emergency services' response time by 50% in rural and 40% in urban areas. Thanks to this gain in time, eCall is expected to save several hundred lives in the European Union each year, and to mitigate the severity of tens of thousands of injuries. Road accidents cost the EU around €160 billion/ year, but if all cars were equipped with the eCall system, up to €20 billion could be saved annually. eCall will work all over the European Union, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The Russian Federation is developing a similar accident notification system called ERA GLONASS. It is based on the eCall standards. Both sides, the EU and Russia, are working together in order to make eCall and ERA GLONASS interoperable so that eCall will also work in Russia and ERA GLONASS in the EU.

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