Getting help to the scene of an accident or emergency as fast as possible can save lives. This applies especially to motorcyclists. For this reason, BMW Motorrad has developed the optional “Intelligent Emergency Call” system which is intended to get help to the accident or emergency scene as fast as possible. This system, which is rolling out in Germany first starting in 2017 and then to other European markets and models, features a right handlebar “SOS” button with speaker and microphone, as well as vehicle sensors, cellular communication unit and GPS receiver.
In the case of an accident, a vehicle-integrated eCall system can make the difference between life and death. As already shown in 2011 as part of a pan-European eCall trial involving BMW vehicles, emergency services were able to respond more quickly and get to the scene of the accident 40 to 50 percent faster. The BMW Motorrad’s Advanced Safety Concept which was based on a K1600GT was shown with integrated an eCall system in 2011. The European Commission in charge of the trial at the time, estimated that using an eCall system would save up to 2,500 lives every year with a savings €26 billion ($29 billion) in the process.
BMW automobiles integrated eCall for the first time in 1999 in Europe. In 2007, the BMW Group extended this safety system by establishing an intelligent and cross-border call center infrastructure. From 2018, eCall will become mandatory for all new cars. Thanks to the close ties between BMW automobiles and BMW motorcycles the system is expected to be available for the first time in a BMW motorcycle as a factory option beginning of 2017 in Germany (and quickly to other European countries).
Satellite-supported localization of the emergency site
In the case of an emergency or an accident, the intelligent eCall system, which is either automatically or manually triggered, sends out the position data, i.e. the coordinates of the motorcycle accident site as determined by an on-board GPS receiver, to the qualified BMW Call Center to initiate the rescue chain. The current position as well as information for determining the direction of travel are transmitted to simplify locating the motorcyclist in hard-to-find locations such as motorway junctions.
eCall requires a connection to the mobile phone network in order to trigger the rescue chain. In the “intelligent emergency call” option, the connection is established via the permanently installed mobile communication unit. For the connection no specific mobile operator is required, all that is necessary is at least one operational mobile provider be available. The service will be made available in all European countries.
The intelligent emergency call takes three scenarios into account:
Scenario 1: Automatic triggering in the case of a bad fall / 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. In this case the rider cannot cancel the emergency call any more.
Scenario 2: Automatic triggering in the case of a minor fall / 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. The intelligent emergency call can only be triggered manually when the motorcycle is stationary with the ignition on.
The “intelligent emergency call” system recognizes non-emergency situations
The emergency call is not triggered automatically in non-emergency situations (e.g. if the bike falls over in a stationary position or in accidents at low speeds with no other traffic user involved, a shock to the bike when riding over a pothole or while off-road riding (e.g. small jumps or riding over obstructions).
Ergonomically designed control unit featuring loudspeaker and microphone
The “intelligent emergency call” option is located on the right side of the handlebar and is both ergonomic and compact. In addition to the cover-protected SOS button used for triggering or cancelling an emergency call, a microphone and loudspeaker have also been integrated.
Sophisticated situational detection sensors
Sensors on the motorcycle detect which event occurred. A crash sensor detects events such as collisions with another vehicle or crashing into an obstruction. A banking angle sensor detects high and low-siders, i.e. which position the motorcycle is in.
Native speaker voice connection to the BMW call center
According to BMW, the intelligent eCall system is a premium service with international coverage. When a voice connection is made, the rider can communicate with the BMW Call Center in his native language. This is a stand-alone feature which is highly effective in an emergency situation. The optional “intelligent emergency call” will be rolled out in Germany first and then also introduced quickly to further European markets and models. There’s no information yet about service in the USA or other markets.