ATX Proposes New Flexible Approach for Accelerating Expansion of In-Vehicle eCall to Emergency Responders Across Europe

By Atx Group, PRNE
Monday, March 1, 2010

Solution Designed to Overcome Technical, Jurisdictional, Cost Barriers To Deployment

HANNOVER, Germany, March 2, 2010 - ATX Group, one of the leading providers of in-vehicle, location-based
services to the global automotive industry, unveiled today at CeBIT 2010 an
innovative proposal to help accelerate deployment of the European
Commission's initiative to enable vehicles to automatically notify local
emergency responders in the event of a crash and pinpoint the location of the
emergency from anywhere within the continent.


ATX's proposed self-dispatching approach to managing location-enabled
emergency calls (eCalls) from vehicles, whether activated by a motorist
depressing an in-vehicle emergency button or by in-vehicle equipment
automatically dialing upon airbag deployment, combines the two approaches to
eCall deployment recognized by the European Commission. ATX proposes using
one approach, which relies upon a telematics or Third-Party Service Provider
(TPSP) to move the voice call from the car to the TPSP via SMS technology and
in-vehicle satellite positioning technology. The calls would then be screened
by specially trained TPSP call takers fluent in the native language of the
motorist, to identify and re-prioritize non-emergencies. Confirmed
emergencies would then be relayed to the 1-1-2 emergency number relevant to
the area of the crash with the minimum set of data specified by the
Commission via an automated voice in the native language of the 1-1-2 call
takers. The focus of the Commission's second approach entails directing the
call into local 1-1-2 response centers. Based on the scope of the eCall data
received, the automated messages could also convey additional crash severity
information as well as the access code to a Web portal with the associated

This proposed self-dispatching eCall solution overcomes many of the most
difficult hurdles that have deterred deployment for nearly a decade:

    -- The solution doesn't require any costly system upgrades within the
       myriad of local emergency response centers or PSAPs (public safety
       answering points), which have varying levels of technical capability
       in their infrastructures, protocols in their operations and training,
       and funding available for system enhancements and/or integration with
       a pan-European 1-1-2 emergency network.
    -- A major hallmark of the self-dispatching approach is that it can
       accommodate either an in-band or SMS technical solution for linking
       the vehicle and PSAP, which has often been at the heart of a technical
       debate in setting cross-border standards.
    -- Perhaps its most critical factor is its low cost, particularly when
       viewed in terms of its technical functionality over the lifetime of
       the vehicle. Its reliance on data communications significantly reduces
       the two principal costs encountered in agreements with third-party
       service providers - the cost of staffing a 24x7x365 call center and
       wireless communications costs.

"This is a solution designed to be flexible, providing the practical need
to ensure that the voice and data portions of every eCall are transmitted to
the same PSAP as well as continually maintaining and enhancing positioning
algorithms and PSAP databases," said Arnaud de Meulemeester, ATX managing
director in Europe.

The self-dispatch approach offers a significant advantage to vehicle
manufacturers because it provides a thin client approach. Complexity is moved
from the in-vehicle head unit to the telematic service provider's servers,
thereby ensuring that updated software or algorithms do not leave legacy
vehicles with incompatible systems. Automobile manufacturers also maintain
greater control on the routing of call and data and receive value in
retaining eCall statistics.

The self-dispatching approach also incorporates the dramatic advances in
interactive and automated voice response technologies that were unproven when
the European eCall process began nearly a decade ago. Text-to-speech
conversion is now well developed and market proven among the growing number
of connected vehicles, providing a viable solution to cross-border language
issues, relying less on the need to continually upgrade in-vehicle hardware
and data storage or having to invest in the overhead of a TSP with
native-language calltakers based in each EU member state.

The emergence of personal Web sites associated with ownership of a
"connected" vehicle also offers greater potential for third-party centers to
append customer-provided emergency data that is of interest to emergency
medical response personnel.

"Our primary objective is to take what ATX has learned from more than a
decade of service in two regions (Europe and North America) and ensure
flexibility for future solutions," said de Meulemeester. "Tomorrow, it is
very likely emergency responders will want even more data — more personal
and more detailed positioning data on vehicle occupants as well as more data
on circumstances prior to impact."

"The technology is available in the market today, providing flexible
eCall solutions that can work in any car and in any European country," said
de Meulemeester. "It is time for a paradigm shift on eCall: one that
recognizes market realities while quickly achieving the overarching goal
saving more lives on European roadways."

More details on ATX's self-dispatching eCall solution are available in a
white paper posted at


With operations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and representative offices
in Paris, France, and Dusseldorf, Germany, ATX ( is one
of the world's leading providers of customized connected vehicles
(telematics) services to global automobile manufacturers. ATX services, among
the first to be launched in the consumer vehicle market back in 1996, are
provided to vehicle owners through the brand names of its customers: Toyota,
Lexus, BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Mercedes-Benz Canada, and Rolls-Royce Motor

Services by ATX provide enhanced safety, security and driving convenience
to vehicle owners, and include location-specific emergency and roadside
assistance, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery, remote
diagnostics, and real-time traffic and navigation assistance. ATX also
customizes services to help automobile manufacturers and their affiliated
dealerships use telematics data and multiple customer contact channels to
reduce costs, enhance vehicle servicing, and more closely manage customer
relationships and contacts with the vehicle through its lifetime.

ATX has a heritage of partnering with European-based automakers to
introduce innovative, Web-based services, having helped pioneer the first
in-vehicle access to online content in 2001 and the first download of online
content to a vehicle in 2008.

ATX is a division of Cross Country Automotive Services
(, a leading provider of location-based
automotive services.

In Europe, Arnaud de Meulemeester, Mobile, +33-637-096-944, ameulemeester at, or In North America, Gary Wallace, Vice President, Corporate Relations, +1-800-511-5891, or +1-972-753-6230, gwallace at, both of ATX Group

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