EDITOR'S NOTE: Volkswagen will not demonstrate how eCall works during the CeBIT technology show as stated in a previous version of this story. Information about VW's participation was removed from an updated version of a release on the show's Web site.
Europe's emergency call system, eCall, will be a focal point during the CeBIT technology show in Hanover March 2-6.
The northern German state of Lower Saxony is working with car manufacturers and other development partners to establish the technological infrastructure for a eCall pilot project.
"The new receivers can process signals from both the American Global Positioning System (GPS) and Galileo, the future European satellite navigation system," said Michael Nitsche, a manager for the project. "This compatibility ensures exact positioning data and optimum availability."
According to the latest EU plans, Galileo will initially provide a search and rescue service, a free open service and a public-regulated service from the beginning of 2014.
ECall is part of the European Commission's plan to cut road deaths to 25,000 by this year. In 2008, more than 1.2 million accidents on Europe's roads caused about 39,000 deaths and more than 1.7 million injuries.
The Commission estimates that the system would save 2,500 lives a year, therefore it wants eCall installed in all new cars sold in Europe during this decade. The system was supposed to come online in 2009 but the launch was pushed forward to this year. Now it appears as though eCall will not be fully implemented in Europe until 2014. The reason for the delay is the high cost of establishing the communications infrastructure to allow eCall to work properly.
Once the system is online, if a person has a car accident eCall automatically dials 112, Europe's single emergency number, and sends its location to the nearest emergency service. A voice call also will be triggered, allowing operators to talk to the car's occupants and gauge the severity of a crash.