BMW announced plans for a new safety feature for its motorcycle division– starting in 2017, its European-sold motorbikes will have an optional emergency e-call system. The Intelligent Emergency Call system, as it is called, has been available for automobiles for over a decade and places a call to an emergency center if a road accident occurs.
The eCall system uses GPS and a dedicated cellular system. It detects stress to the bike and places a call. It also connects to a sensor on the handlebars of the motorcycle, which helps the e-call system distinguish a crash from say, a bike accidentally falling over.
If the system senses a high-speed accident, it immediately places a call. If it suspects a minor incidents, it gives the rider 25 seconds to press a button that would stop a call from being placed. Bikers can also manually place calls through the system, presumably to assist other drivers if an accident were to take place.
BMW notes the success of these smart eCall systems in cars. The calls initially go to a BMW emergency call center, which serves as an intermediary between the rider and the first responder. A study shows that this system enables emergency services to arrive at the scene of an accident between 40 and 50 percent faster than usual. In fact, all cars sold in the European Union will be required to have an eCall system by 2018 (this mandate does not apply to motorcycles).
No word yet on if/when the eCall system will be available for U.S. bikes.
(Image via BMW)