Two days remain for first ERA-GLONASS implementation milestone

Passenger vehicles and those carrying dangerous goods have two days left to comply with Russian ERA-GLONASS compliance legislation.

From 1st January 2014, all new and imported passenger vehicles with more than 8 seats and goods vehicles greater than 2.5 tonnes used for the transportation of dangerous goods will need to have equipment installed to enable them to be connected to the ERA-GLONASS system in the country.

Despite cries of despair amongst the user community that there are only two days remaining to the deadline, this change affects only imported vehicles since the plan has always been for new vehicles of these categories to meet the 2014 deadline.

The original plan for all new and imported vehicles of categories M and N (Cars, PSV and HGV equipment) to be equipped with the necessary equipment by 1st January 2015 has been slipped by two years. Such vehicles now have to meet the specification by 1st January 2017. This was the original date for imported vehicles (not new) to meet the specification and this date has now been slipped to 2020.

The Russian ERA-GLONASS system is an automatic emergency call network similar to the eCall system being implemented in the EU. Based on the Russian GLONASS navigation satellite constellation, the system will place an automatic call to the emergency services and transmit data including location co-ordinates to the emergency services. The Government plan stipulates that the system should first be installed in buses and HGV equipment used for the carriage of dangerous goods before being rolled out to other vehicle groups.

Russia expects that full implementation of ERA-GLONASS in the country will save around 4000 lives per year due to a reduction in emergency services reaction time by 30%. Statistics from the Emergency Services Research Institute of the Russian Federation estimate that of all the 28000 deaths annually on Russia’s roads, around 3% occur instantaneously and 56% die at the scene whilst waiting for help or in the ambulance en route to hospital. The remaining 41% die after admission to hospital.

Reducing response times by 30% will have an impact on the 56% and also to some extent on the 41% who die in hospital. However, this is based on the assumption that reaction time is the only variable affected. Quality of care by first responders, cross training of emergency services agencies, public education on behaviour at accident scenes and safety of extraction techniques used by fire crews all have significant areas of concern that could also be addressed to reduce the fatality rate further and are not addressed by the ministry’s estimates.

Another pre-requisite to the effectiveness of the ERA-GLONASS implementation is the transition to a single emergency services number across the Federation. The proposal is to use the pan-European 112 number for all emergency services. Currently, citizens need to choose between 01 for rescue services, 02 for police and 03 for medical aid; there is no common number to dial. The implementation plan for the 112 system covers only 18 of Russia’s 83 regions by 2014 with full coverage scheduled for 2017.

The battle for satellite navigation control also reached new heights this week with President Barack Obama of the United States passing a law which effectively prohibits the installation of GLONASS repeater stations on the territory of the USA. The law states that such stations can be installed if they won’t be used for activities against the USA national security or commercial interests and they won’t be used in competition with the US-based GPS system.

Using a combination of GLONASS and GPS signals increases the precision of location information and receivers already exist that make use of both constellations. The information transmitted to the emergency services call centres both from the pan-European eCall system and the ERA-GLONASS system of the Russian Federation are “constellation-agnostic” insomuchas the information provided doesn’t depend on which constellation it is obtained from. This fact along with the use of the 112 emergency call number means that eCall equipped vehicles will theoretically work in the Russian Federation and vice versa. Both Russia and the EU are able to make use of both the GPS and GLONASS constellations.

An English language summary of the GLONASS summit held in Moscow in March 2013 and TrafficSafe’s PowerPoint presentation on the ERA-GLONASS system are available for purchase by contacting

Jonathan Newell

Studied Engineering at Loughborough University and now involved in broadcast and technical journalism. Jonathan is based in London and Almaty.

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