Automotive Telematics Become Mandatory With Ecall | Avnet Abacus

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Automotive Telematics Become Mandatory With Ecall | Avnet Abacus

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Automotive telematics become mandatory with eCall

Alan Jermyn Photo

As the intelligence of vehicle electronic systems increases, wireless connectivity is becoming an important feature, enabling passenger communications and cloud connectivity for advanced features instances of emergency such as eCall.

As the intelligence of vehicle electronic systems increases, wireless connectivity is becoming an important feature, enabling passenger communications and cloud connectivity for advanced features.

For example, Mercedes’ ‘me connect’ system includes three connectivity services: bCall, iCall and eCall. bCall is short for breakdown call, which will allow drivers to call for 24-hour roadside assistance in the event that the car breaks down. iCall, short for information call, will provide artificial intelligence based support, such as driving routes and restaurant locations. And eCall, short for emergency call, will automatically call the emergency services in the event of an accident or crash.

In fact, legislation on eCall functionality is one of the major factors driving advanced vehicle connectivity. This system will be mandatory for all cars and vans sold in the EU from April 2018.

eCall is intended to save lives on the roads. If an accident happens in a rural or remote area, or at night, valuable time can be lost while victims are not able to call the emergency services and there is no-one else around to do so. In this situation, getting to the hospital quickly can mean the difference between life and death. It is estimated that eCall can speed up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and 50% in the countryside and can reduce the number of fatalities by at least 4% and the number of severe injuries by 6%.

eCall can be triggered by impact sensors in the car that are continuously monitored to detect an accident or crash. Airbag accelerometers may form part of this system. Alternatively, eCall systems may be triggered manually by the driver using a dedicated ‘SOS’ button in the car.

Once the call is placed, an operator will attempt to speak to the driver to find out what has happened and whether paramedics are required. If voice contact cannot be made, the paramedics are sent immediately. The eCall system also transmits data known as the ‘Minimum Set of Data’ (MSD) to the emergency services, which includes a timestamp for the incident, GPS location data and information about the direction the vehicle was travelling to allow the accident site to be found as quickly as possible. This data is actually sent by an in-band modem over the GSM voice channel, in a similar way to how fax machines work.

Design Challenges

Vehicles, being mobile by nature, are of course not plugged in to power cables or data cables, so the major design challenges relate to battery power, RF connectivity, and the reliability of these systems under accident and crash conditions.

Battery power is particularly important, since in the event of a crash, the car’s main battery or its supply lines may no longer be functional. The eCall system therefore needs to be flexible enough to allow its power source to change from the car’s main battery to a backup battery when required. This backup battery should obviously be as robust as possible as it may have to endure many years before finally being used, and then it still needs to be powerful enough for a loud and clear call. The requirements are power delivery for 10 minutes, from a very small battery, in temperatures as low as -40°C. The power supply required by communication modules is typically 350mA with peaks of 2A for data transmission, plus 500mA for audio operation, at 3.2-3.4V.

Tadiran has developed a special lithium metal-oxide battery technology especially to meet these demanding conditions, which can supply pulse currents up to 15A (permanent current capacity of 5A) at a rated voltage of 4V. Tadiran’s TLM-1550/HP, based on this specialised technology, is the size of an AA battery, showing good properties down to -40°C without additional heating. The rechargeable version can be used for standby times of 8-10 years.

Tadiran TLM-1550/HP lithium metal-oxide battery Varta V500HT series coin cell

The Tadiran TLM-1550/HP lithium metal-oxide battery (left) and Varta V500HT coin cell (right)

As an alternative, Varta recommends using multiple coin cells in this application, suggesting 3 to 5 of its V500HT parts, depending on the power demand. The V500HT is part of its Powerful85 family of Ni-MH batteries, designed for high discharge currents (3A peak at 4.8V) and extended temperatures (-20 to 85°C). These batteries are rechargeable with a long lifetime of up to 10 years.

Molex HS-AutoLink connectorsThe second biggest design challenge that eCall systems face is reliable GPS/GSM RF operation in low signal areas. Smart antenna designs, located in the car’s ‘shark fin’, will allow GPS and eCall communication alongside a host of other services such as radio, TV and vehicle-to-X communication. RF reliability can be improved using the right SAW filter to eliminate the effects of interference – RF360 is the leader in
automotive SAW filters with a wide range of parts for all applicable frequencies and bands, including eCall.

Overall robustness of the in-vehicle communications system is probably the third biggest design challenge, as the system has to be robust enough to survive a crash. All components should obviously be able to withstand automotive temperature ranges and be AEC-Q100 certified, where applicable. For example, connectors should be the most robust possible, such as the HS Autolink family from Molex, which is designed for automotive data transfer. These rugged connectors feature fully protected perimeter seals and wire seals for IP67 and IP69K rating in wet locations.

Are you designing an eCall application? Our Europe-wide team of field applications engineers is on hand to discuss your requirements. Visit the Ask an Expert page or contact your local sales office to get in touch.

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About Author

Alan Jermyn Photo
Alan Jermyn

Alan Jermyn has occupied senior management roles at the Abacus Group for a number of years. Previou...

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By Ekaterina Rachel   -   April 1, 2016
Aluminium electrolytic and polymer wound aluminium electrolytic capacitors may seem similar at first glance, but the technologies offer very different performance characteristics.
Selecting batteries for Internet of Things connected systems can be tricky, as there is such a wide variety of application types.
Design trends: Batteries for IoT
By Tim Parker   -   March 11, 2016
Selecting batteries for Internet of Things connected systems can be tricky, as there is such a wide variety of application types.
Although they’ve been superseded in some applications by newer technologies such as solid state relays (SSRs), electromechanical relays (EMRs) still have a lot to offer.
Modern electromechanical relays meet today’s reliability demands
By Giovanna Monari   -   February 2, 2016
Although they’ve been superseded in some applications by newer technologies such as solid state relays (SSRs), electromechanical relays (EMRs) still have a lot to offer.
LEDs are widely touted as the perfect solution for lighting applications because, in theory at least, they last forever.What’s less frequently spoken about is that circuit protection can make or break the design.
Circuit protection is vital for long lifetimes in LED lighting
By Adam Chidley   -   January 7, 2016
LEDs are widely touted as the perfect solution for lighting applications because, in theory at least, they last forever.What’s less frequently spoken about is that circuit protection can make or break the design.
Today, supercapacitors are widely used in transport applications to help stabilise the output power of a main power source and improve fuel efficiency.
Supercapacitors: Making transport more efficient
By Adam Chidley   -   September 7, 2015
Today, supercapacitors are widely used in transport applications to help stabilise the output power of a main power source and improve fuel efficiency.
The various types of capacitors all have their advantages and disadvantages, but polymer capacitors offer a host of desirable electrical characteristics.
The unstoppable rise of polymer capacitors
By Ekaterina Rachel   -   August 10, 2015
The various types of capacitors all have their advantages and disadvantages, but polymer capacitors offer a host of desirable electrical characteristics.
Lithium batteries have been in the news again recently, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.
How to impose a smoking ban on lithium batteries
By Tim Parker   -   July 9, 2015
Lithium batteries have been in the news again recently, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.
The invention of the micro switch goes back over 80 years to 1932 and is attributed to one Peter McGall of Freeport, Illinois, USA. Who knows how many billion of these handy little components have been manufactured since, but there can hardly be a ho
Understanding micro switches and hysteresis
By Giovanna Monari   -   June 12, 2015
The invention of the micro switch goes back over 80 years to 1932 and is attributed to one Peter McGall of Freeport, Illinois, USA. Who knows how many billion of these handy little components have been manufactured since, but there can hardly be a ho
Fans are often looked at like insurance policies – they’re something you need, rather than something you want.
Fans have few fans, but perhaps they should?
By Mathias Goebel   -   May 28, 2015
Fans are often looked at like insurance policies – they’re something you need, rather than something you want.
Supercapacitors are an alternative to using a battery or indeed the more common-or-garden variety of capacitor in many energy storage applications, perhaps as backup power or for high-surge demand applications.
What’s super about supercapacitors?
By Adam Chidley   -   May 18, 2015
Supercapacitors are an alternative to using a battery or indeed the more common-or-garden variety of capacitor in many energy storage applications, perhaps as backup power or for high-surge demand applications.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has undergone phenomenal growth in recent years and connectivity is becoming increasingly reliant upon wireless networks.
Latest developments in antennas for M2M communications
By Marco Enge   -   April 30, 2015
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has undergone phenomenal growth in recent years and connectivity is becoming increasingly reliant upon wireless networks.
Keenly associated to the trend of greater computing power and complexity is a technology that is making a move into industrial from the communications field: that of advanced power system architectures.
Advanced power architectures move into industry
By Philip Lechner   -   April 20, 2015
Keenly associated to the trend of greater computing power and complexity is a technology that is making a move into industrial from the communications field: that of advanced power system architectures.
Thermal management is a key element of LED lighting design, ensuring reliable operation, better performance and extended device lifetimes.
LED thermal management: Is it just me or is it getting hot in here?
By Giovanna Monari   -   March 19, 2015
Thermal management is a key element of LED lighting design, ensuring reliable operation, better performance and extended device lifetimes.

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