Since the late 1990’s, some BMW car models sold in Europe have had the option of an emergency call service. In 2017, BMW plans to make this eCall option available on their motorcycles (no such release date is planned for BMW motorcycles in the US as of yet).
Here’s how the system works: utilizing collision and banking-angle sensors, the system is able to differentiate between serious accidents and those that don’t require urgent emergency services (i.e. the bike tipping over while not moving).
Once triggered, the system connects via cell phone networks with a BMW eCall center under three different scenarios described by BMW.
Scenario 1: Automatic triggering in the event of a collision or a serious bad fall or collision
The emergency call is automatically triggered without time delay, sending a message to a qualified BMW Call Center. The accident victim/rider is taken care of by the BMW Call Center via audio connection until the emergency service arrives.
Help is sent out in any case even if there is no response. A display in the instrument cluster shows that the eCall has been initiated. An acoustic signal is also set off. At this point, the rider cannot cancel the emergency call.
Scenario 2: Automatic triggering in the case of a minor fall or collision
In this case the emergency call is only triggered after 25 seconds before sending a message to the BMW Call Center. If no help is necessary after only a non-serious accident, the accident victim/rider has the opportunity of cancelling the emergency call at the press of a button.
If he does not cancel, the rescue chain is initiated as in scenario 1. A display in the instrument cluster shows that the eCall has been initiated. An acoustic signal is also set off.
Scenario 3: Manual triggering by pressing a button
In this case the eCall is triggered manually by pressing the SOS button on the right handlebar end, e.g. for calling help for other road users in need. A message is sent to the BMW Call Center and a voice connection is established.
A voice connection is mandatory if the eCall was triggered manually before further measures are initiated. Here too, the accident victim/rider is also given the opportunity to cancel the emergency call at the press of a button or by turning off the ignition.
So how effective is it? In European trials, it has been estimated that an eCall system can get emergency help to riders 40-50% faster. The European Commission estimates that this could save up to 2,500 lives annually. We will keep you apprised as to how affective the system is once it is actually rolled out as well as when it will be available in the US.