COLOGNE, Germany – A Ford-commissioned survey shows 75 per cent of Europeans have, in the past five years, travelled by car in countries where they would have been unable to make an emergency services call in the local language.
Ford SYNC Emergency Assistance offered on new Fiesta in Europe can alert local emergency services operators in 26 languages, spoken in 40 European regions – more than any rival technology.
“SYNC Emergency Assistance is activated in the event of a crash after which the occupants of the vehicle may be unconscious, injured or confused,” said Christof Kellerwessel, chief engineer, Electrical and Electronics System Engineering, Ford of Europe. “It might then be difficult to make an emergency services call in the occupant’s native tongue, let alone a second or even third language.”
SYNC Emergency Assistance, delivered as standard as part of Ford’s SYNC in-car connectivity system, uses information from the vehicle’s on-board GPS unit, map and mobile network to pinpoint accident location and choose the appropriate language in which to deliver a pre-recorded message.
It then calls the pan-European 112 emergency number via an occupant’s Bluetooth-connected mobile phone. The system can even determine the correct language for countries where multiple languages are spoken, based on incident coordinates.
The activation of an airbag or the vehicle’s emergency fuel pump shut-off initiates the SYNC Emergency Assistance system to make the call after a brief window during which it can be cancelled if no assistance is required. The system enables direct hands-free communication between operator and occupants and can transfer the call to the mobile phone if, for example, the occupant exits the vehicle with the device.
The Ford-commissioned poll of more than 3,000 people across Europe found that 75 per cent of those questioned had, in the past five years, either driven in or been a passenger in countries where they would not have been able to make an emergency call in the local language. This applied to 84 per cent of German respondents, 75 per cent from the U.K and Russia, 73 per cent from Italy and 72 per cent from France and Spain. 10 percent said that, also in that time, they had been involved in an accident.
“The reassurance offered by a system that can assist occupants in placing a call in the emergency call-taker’s own language in 40 regions across Europe, is invaluable,” added Kellerwessel.
Ford is supporting use of the SYNC Emergency Assistance system by emergency call-takers through the development of a multi-language online resource.