Retrofit device provides eCall functionality

January 09, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
From 31 March this year, all car manufacturers in the EU will have to equip new cars with equipment for the eCall emergency call system. For all the vehicles that are already out there, Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions has developed a retrofit solution: The Telematics eCall Plug (TEP) delivers event data such as driving behavior and crash detection for telematics, fleet management and insurance applications.

The TEP registers car crash severity and can help to save lives by enabling faster emergency response times. Its eCall function uses acceleration sensors and embedded algorithms to detect car accident events and their severity. It communicates with the driver’s smartphone via Bluetooth. Accident alerts are sent to a call center via smartphone. 

The device utilizes built-in sensors and microcontroller to detect and track driving behavior parameters such as acceleration, braking and cornering forces, then transmits this data to the driver's smartphone via Bluetooth.  The TEPs cost-efficiency makes it an alternative to standard ‘black box’ or OBD-dongle solutions.

The collected data can be used to help improve safety by identifying aggressive driving behavior and enables more personalized behavior-based insurance, by rewarding safe drivers with discounts on premiums. The data can also help insurers to identify and reduce fraudulent claims. The device can build closer customer relationships through gamification and more frequent customer contact. Fleet operators can use the acquired data for monitoring driving behavior. 

The TEP has three configurations: the eCall function only, the driving behavior data only, or both functions. It plugs into the standard 12V DC car outlet, enabling retrofit installation in almost any type of car. There is no connection to the car’s IT infrastructure, which eliminates the risk of hacking.

A Software Development Kit (SDK) for the TEP is available that facilitates the development of retrofit automotive telematics solutions. The SDK supports both Android and iOS operating systems; for the communication with the smartphone, the device and utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE).

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