New European rules will see all new cars in Britain rolled out with a function that automatically calls the emergency services should you end up in a crash.
The new technology, called “ecall”, will transmit the location and make of the car once it has detected a collision has occurred to the emergency services.
Several carmakers, including Vauxhall and Volkswagen already have a similar setup in many of their cars. However, within the next six months this will become a standard requirement within the motoring industry in Europe.
Throughout Europe there will be specialised call centres to take charge of emergency situations, but in the UK this responsibility will lie with BT.
However, the regulations have raised concerns with various bodies over driver privacy, with many speculations over the driver having no control on who listens in on the car’s in-built microphone.
CEO of privacy expert company Big Brother Watch Renate Samson told the Times: “There’s been no discussion of eCall in parliament for three years. If the DfT has to adhere to this, I find it astonishing that they’ve failed to publish some real information about what it is.
“Crucially, we need to know what sort of safeguards will there be for drivers’ personal data, in-car privacy and cyber security.”
There have also been concerns that the eCall could be scrapped when the UK leaves Europe.
But, a source from DfT told The Times that this wasn’t the case, saying: “It will continue. We are one of the largest markets in Europe for the purchase of new vehicles and it makes no sense to set it up, get ready to receive the calls and then walk away from it.”
Currently there are several counties with eCall already in operation including Slovenia Italy and, most recently, Sweden.
October 3, 2017