Archive for March, 2014

My new Marmite: eCall

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2014 by bleiglass

They say you either love or hate Marmite, and I hate eCall. It makes me angry each time I hear about it, one minor reason is that it was sneaked under our radar into a EU wide legislation. Most people I talk to do not even know whats all about, we really dropped the ball here. For once the EU bureaucrats showed creativity, they launched a pilot in Czes Republic, out of sight of the majority of 250 million car owners. But what is eCall:


In a nutshell, eCall is a automated system in your car that sends out a distress signals to the rescue operations should a accident happen, all by itself, without human interference. The emergency services then can start their rescue without any delay. Hurray you say, this will save lives. I say, it will cost lives.

eCall with its automated emergency calls will stretch our scarce A&E resources to its limits, as no common sense is involved in calling for help. A little chip that was shaken and is programmed to cry for help will bring down the NHS, and some really urgent cases will have to wait or die – as all ambulances are chasing eCalls. It will cost our emergency services a fortune to maintain eCall service levels, with no real benefit. The ambulances today are not late because they were called late, but because they are busy. And eCall will make it even more busy – dangerously busy.

Even worse, the nanny state extends its reach. While in the past we felt responsible to assist and call for help, in the future we do not need to bother anymore, drive on, as eCall does all the work. But does it really? Isn’t a crash the moment when most things break? Bothered?

Nobody tells me how many death occur because some drunk had a accident at night in the middle of nowhere and is not found within minutes. I think its a safe bet to say: can’t be that many. We are not living in the 80s, where a car’s mobile phone was the size of a suitcase and was reserved for the board of directors due to its prohibitive high costs. Today, every child has a mobile phone, and thanks to our politicians in Brussel and Westminster, from 2015 on every new car must be equipped with a mobile phone of its own – to call for help.


It is only a small step for eCall to notify the police when you are speeding, or parking longer then the allowed 60 minutes. And next, the authorities can call your car, and disable it. The wet dreams of Brussel bureaucrats and health and safety fanatics are coming true.

There is worse. One argument I often hear when eCall is “sold” are the very low costs, about £100 per car. Now I do not call this low, and with over 250 million cars on EU roads, we are talking about a mandatory 25bn (that is spelled BILLION) program. When I the hear that councils are missing some million to fix the expanding pothole problem, you may start to see why I hate eCall.

It is a very expensive solution with very little benefit, putting our real emergency services at risk. We really dropped the ball here, once again not showing Brussels its limits.

But on the bright side: eCall can make you rich, all you need to do is invest in one of the smaller eCall partners you see in the video or find with simple online search, who will from 2015 onwards see £25 billion of business coming their way.

A final word: some people may find it reassuring that their car can call emergency services automatically, and I accept that. They should feel free to install such system (similar to a house burglary alarm) into their cars, and link it to whatever emergency service they see fit. But its also up to them to pay the fees for the installation and maintenance, and it is to them that the emergence operators send their bill, if they are called out by numerous false alarms.

This should never have been made law, forcing everybody to install eCall.