A two-week trial of Europe’s planned eCall mobile emergency warning system ended successfully this week, with three test cars transmitting 15,000 calls across sixteen EU member states.

One of the goals of the test was to see whether the technology can function across borders, regardless of the mobile-connection technologies used in individual countries. The system handled that challenge adequately.

Kurt Sievers, senior vice president and general manager of NXP Semiconductors’ Automotive business unit, said he was happy with the results of the trial. “Large-scale introduction of eCall is about reliability, system costs, and trust,” he said.

NXP, which initiated the two-week trial, is a Netherlands-based semiconductors, software and services group that provides a telematics module called ATOP to the eCall project. Other companies involved in the trial were IBM, insurer Allianz, Deutsche Telekom and several automobile clubs. BMW provided the test cars.

Telematics industry executives have privately and publicly said that many uncertainties remain about the timing and implementation of eCall across Europe. But Juhani Jääskeläinen, a senior transport official at the EU Commission in Brussels, said eCall implementation is now becoming a reality.

“The closure of this eCall tour by a consortium of industry partners is an important step towards the EU's objective to have eCall deployed in all cars in Europe as soon as possible," he said.

eCall is an EU system designed to reduce the time it takes for rescue services to respond to traffic accidents across Europe by sending an automated emergency call. The transmission would include vital data such as the exact location and time of the accident.

Studies have shown that eCall could save up to 2,500 lives annually in Europe, while the number of serious injuries could be reduced by 15 percent.