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HGV eCall

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Catapult colleagues have co-authored a paper on HGV eCall development.

eCall has been a legal requirement for EU manufactured vehicles since 2018. The In-Vehicle System (IVS) initiates an emergency call by contacting a public safety answering point (PSAP) if an accident or incident occurs. This is triggered automatically by sensors monitoring the vehicle or manually in instances where the driver is a witness to an event. The IVS sends vital information such as positioning, direction of travel, vehicle ID details, and a timestamp to the PSAP, whilst also initiating the voice call with the driver. The driver, if they are able to, can provide further details about the accident so the appropriate level of emergency response can be deployed.

But different vehicles have different requirements. Take Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) for example.

HGVs transport large quantities of goods across long distances. The contents of each HGV can understandably vary. One HGV may be carrying chemicals that, if overturned, would require a more considered emergency response than that of a similar vehicle carrying livestock.

And whilst it is easy to imagine why environmental and life-threatening accidents demand a prompt response, even seemingly unthreatening cargo can cause major disruption.

In June 2021, a lorry carrying tomato puree overturned on the M5 closing the road for five hours. A closure, for this amount of time on a busy three lane motorway is estimated to cost £1,861,200, whilst a total of £1bn is lost every year in productivity hours, as a result of road traffic accidents on motorways (UK Gov, 2018). Though road closures following these types of accidents are unavoidable, quick, measured responses can help to reduce the costs associated with them.

Dr Ashweeni Beeharee, the Satellite Application Catapult’s Head of Communication Systems Engineering, is leading research for potential architectures to improve the minimum set data requirements for HGV eCall.

In a recent paper published by IEEE – the world’s largest technical professional organisation for the advancement of technology – Ashweeni and colleagues outlined potential architectural solutions for HGVs, establishing routes for data transfer between the In-Vehicle Systems to the public safety answering point.

Building on recent research, which identified Schemas to determine where cargo information would be stored, the team propose three architectures: a Multi-Party Approach; a Proxy Approach; and a Distributed System with Authentication and Authorisation of HGV IS and PSAP by Trusted Third Parties.

Challenges such as who is responsible for inputting the data, and recommendations for further research are also discussed.

This paper reinforces the Catapult’s position as thought leaders in eCall, as Ashweeni and team continue to lead the way in eCall development. This new research follows up work completed as part of the sAFE project from 2019 which explored different approaches to improve aftermarket eCall devices.

To find out more about HGV eCall, you can access the full paper here.