BMW are taking a significant step forward towards making motorcycling a bit safer by introducing their new Intelligent Emergency Call (IEC) system on BMW motorcycles. The system, which will be offered as an option on BMW motorcycles from early 2017, will get help the scene of an accident and/or other emergency scenario as quickly as possible, thereby saving lives. In a pan-European study conducted in 2011, it was concluded that vehicles equipped with emergency call systems (eCall) were able to summon help to the scene of an accident 40-50% faster than vehicles without any such system. In fact, eCall will become mandatory for all new cars sold in Europe from 2018, so there's no reason why bikes also shouldn't have a similar system.
In the case of an emergency or an accident, BMW's IEC system, which is either automatically or manually triggered, sends out the position data (coordinates of the motorcycle accident site) to a BMW Call Center, which then immediately initiates the rescue chain. The bike's current position, as well as information for determining the direction of travel are transmitted, to simplify locating the motorcyclist in hard-to-find locations.
eCall requires a connection to the mobile phone network in order to trigger the rescue chain. In BMW's IEC, the connection is established via the mobile communication unit that's permanently installed on the motorcycle. No specific mobile operator is required for the connection - all that is necessary is any one operational mobile connectivity provider, and the service will be made available in all European countries.
BMW's IEC can either trigger automatically in the case of a fall or collision, or can be manually triggered by the press of a button. In either case, a message is sent to a qualified BMW call centre, which establishes audio connection with the accident victim(s), though help is sent out even if there is no response at the rider's end. A display in the bike's instrument cluster shows that the eCall has been initiated and an acoustic signal is also set off when the system is activated. In the case of a non-serious accident, the victim/rider has an opportunity to cancel the emergency call at the press of a button.
BMW's IEC eCall system can also recognise non-emergency situations, like a bike tipping over when stationery, or a low-speed fall with no other road users involved. On the other hand, the system is also able to detect events such as collisions with another vehicle or crashing into an obstruction. A banking angle sensor is also able to detect high and low-siders.
The IEC eCall system, available on BMW motorcycles from early-2017, will be a premium service with international coverage. When a voice connection is made, the rider can communicate with the BMW Call Center in his/her native language. This optional IEC will first be rolled out in Germany, followed by other European markets.