Japan launches automatic emergency call trial

The D-Call Net trial is being launched in Japan to automatically transmit vehicle data to call centres to assist in the assessment of collision severity.

Japanese emergency response vehicleThe service to make Japan’s roads safety is a joint operation involving the Emergency Medical Network of Helicopters and Hospitals (HEM-Net), the Japan Mayday Service and vehicle manufacturers Toyota and Honda.

The aim of the D-Call Net service is to save additional life-saving seconds following serious collisions by making use of vehicle data to assess the probability of deaths and serious injuries based on known statistical information and algorithms. By making such parametric assessments before the collision is attended, decisions can be made as to whether air ambulances should be despatched or not.

Similar in its transmission of parametric vehicle data at the point of collision to the pan-European eCall and Russian ERA-GLONASS systems, D-Call Net has some fundamental differences and is an extension of the existing Japanese HELPNET service operated by Japan Mayday Service for the last 15 years. This service provided assistance to those involved in accidents by receiving location, route and airbag deployment data and establishing a voice connection between the helpdesk operator and the vehicle occupants. This brokering service has enabled fast decisions to be made about which emergency services should be deployed.

D-Call Net has added extra parameters including seat-belt usage and the direction and severity of the collision. Using data collated from nearly 3 million accidents that have occurred on Japan’s roads, the D-Call Net system runs probability algorithms to determine the likelihood and severity of injuries or death for vehicle occupants. The data is transmitted to participating hospitals that have air ambulance as well as ground ambulance services available.

So far, only certain vehicles from Toyota and Honda are suitably equipped to take part in the D-Call Net trial, including the Land Cruiser and Crown models, some new model Lexus LX, RX and GS cars and Honda Accords equipped with navigation sytems linked by Bluetooth to suitable mobile phones.

It is estimated that around 400,000 vehicles will be compatible with the D-Call Net system in Japan by 2017 and the plan is to have full-scale implementation the following year. Achieving this depends on the nationwide participation of helicopter-equipped hospitals and wider deployment in vehicles from other manufacturers.

Japanese D-Call Net emergency call system schematic

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Vehicle Technology

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