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EU signs off eCall: All cars to contain GPS tech by 2015

Posting in Technology

The European Union is insisting every new vehicle on the road should come equipped with mobile tracking technology by 2015.

Citing use for emergencies and traffic accidents, the EU says that "eCall," an on-board device which combines GPS tracking technology with a direct link to emergency services, can make accident response quicker and more efficient.

If your car crashes, eCall automatically contacts the European "112" emergency service number manually or through in-vehicle sensors. Emergency services then receive the car's GPS coordinates and can establish an audio channel between the vehicle and an emergency call centre.

According to the EU, 28,000 people were killed and over 1.5 million were injured in car accidents in 2012, resulting in an economic cost of 130 million euros a year. At the moment, only 0.7 percent of European vehicles are equipped with eCall and the commission estimates that it will only cost €100 per car to install.

In addition, the EU says that "eCall technology platform capabilities (i.e., positioning, processing and communication modules) could be exploited for additional services (e.g., advanced insurances schemes, stolen vehicles tracking etc)." However, before we consider in-car surveillance, the commission also says that the technology is not traceable and "it is not subject to any constant tracking."

Draft legislation to enact the scheme has been passed. If the European Parliament and Council of the European Union assent, then the requirement will become law.

The commission believes the scheme could save 2,500 lives a year.

Read More: The Register

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— By on June 13, 2013, 7:50 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure