A growing number of countries have, or are planning to introduce legislation to
make in-vehicle emergency call functionality, known as eCall, mandatory in all
new vehicles. These systems are designed to quickly alert and dispatch an emergency
response vehicle if a motorist is involved in a crash.
Implementing a system like eCall requires co-operation, dedication and forward-thinking
from politicians, government departments and international OEMs,
but if successful, it will significantly reduce the risk of death in vehicle
accidents. One of the countries getting close to achieving this is Malaysia.
In February 2018, the Malaysian Government introduced “eCall Malaysia”, a
scheme aimed at reducing the death rate caused by vehicle accidents by as much
as 50%. But, with multiple delays to legislation, unclear standards and a history of programs like this fading away, how should OEMs prepare?
eCall Malaysia has three activation methods.
Next, the correct emergency response team needs to be
alerted. To do this, eCall Malaysia uses a centralised Telematics Service Provider
(TSP). Response agents use the system to communicate with the
vehicle driver and/or passengers involved in the accident, and then send accurate vehicle
location, direction and severity information to the Police, Ambulance or Fire Department.
The eCall data is then sent to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS)
In 2018, Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) was working to pass legislation to make eCall mandatory in all new cars from 2020. This legislation was pushed to January 2019 and was then pushed again to July 2019. It has now stalled under pressure from the Malaysian Automotive Association’s (MAA) efforts to grow the new vehicle market in Malaysia by reducing vehicle prices.
How does this affect
While legislation making additional systems mandatory in single markets might cause headaches for vehicle manufacturers, ‘possibly mandatory
soon’ definitely should.
It is increasingly likely that this legislation will be delayed again, possibly many times, as there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
What are the risks?
The Malaysian Government could move quickly, leaving OEMs in the dark, without clear guidelines, and needing to react in a short period of time. Conversely, we could see long term delays, and continuing contradictory desires from the MOT and MAA.
We saw a similar situation with Brazil, which introduced legislation in 2011 to reduce vehicle theft through a program called SIMRAV. This stolen vehicle tracking mandate was continuously delayed and eventually cancelled all together due to technical challenges and a lack of support from the automotive industry.
But, with more countries looking to pass their own eCall legislation, including Malaysia and even the United Arab Emirates, OEMs could find themselves trying to navigate a market where different countries require alternate eCall systems, without official standards or unified rollout schemes.
“Planning for uncertainty is not easy" says Anita
Luo, a researcher at SBD Automotive. "Malaysia
is a single, relatively small market that vehicle manufacturers should now be
watching very closely. OEMs should lobby to encourage Malaysia to adopt existing eCall standards from the EU and/or Russia, and in doing so, create an opportunity to leverage their existing global connected car solutions. The eCall
situation highlights how important it is for OEMs to stay up-to-date with connected service rollout - locally and