What is Emergency Assistance?
Emergency Assistance is a SYNC® software feature that uses a vehicle occupant's Bluetooth® paired and connected mobile phone to dial 112 in the event of a vehicle crash with an airbag deployment, or when the fuel pump shut-off is triggered (can be caused by a rear collision). Emergency Assistance will select the most appropriate language based on the location of the accident to provide information to an Emergency Call Taker.
How does Emergency Assistance Work?
SYNC® Emergency Assistance can help vehicle occupants in a crash by placing an assisted call directly to 112. In the event of airbag deployment or the activation of the fuel pump shut-off (which can be triggered in rear collisions), SYNC® speaks to vehicle occupants in their pre-selected language and tells them that an assisted emergency call will be made. It also gives instructions on how to cancel the call. SYNC® will wait approximately ten seconds and if the occupants do not cancel the call, SYNC® will place an emergency call to 112 via a connected Bluetooth® mobile phone. The call is a standard wireless call directly to 112. Once connected, SYNC® will alert the Emergency Call Taker that a vehicle crash has occurred and provide location information about the incident via voice. The emergency message is spoken in a language most appropriate for the recipients of the call as determined by the location of the incident. After delivering critical information SYNC® opens the line and offers hands-free voice communication between the Call Taker and the vehicle occupants. The 112 Call Taker can evaluate the situation and provide assistance as needed.
What is unique about SYNC® Emergency Assistance?
SYNC® Emergency Assistance can help vehicle occupants by placing a hands-free wireless call over their personal mobile phone, contacting 112 directly and contacting the most appropriate Public Safety Answering Point without the delay of going through a third party call center. SYNC® Emergency Assistance is truly unique in its communication provided by SYNC®'s powerful voice capabilities. Emergency Assistance not only communicates to the vehicle occupants in their pre-selected language it also determines the best (sometimes different) language to communicate the emergency information to the Call Taker. This powerful capability can perform a critical translation service for those in need and may even speak on the behalf of the unconscious or deaf.
When will Communication centers start to receive calls from SYNC® equipped vehicles?
Expect the population of Emergency Assistance equipped vehicles to grow after its release in late 2012 increasing the likelihood of Emergency Assistance calls over time.
Does Emergency Assistance come with a manual "SOS" button?
No, not at this time. We feel this would lead to unwanted, burdensome "test" calls to the emergency services. We have developed the system in such a way that false calls are kept to a minimum. The user can of course manually place a 112 call by simply pressing the SYNC® button and saying "Call 112".
Is SYNC/Emergency Assistance compatible with all mobile phones?
SYNC® offers hands-free phone connectivity via a Bluetooth® connection. The overwhelming majority of mobile phone handsets sold in Europe today have Bluetooth® capability.
What has Ford Motor Company done to ensure that Emergency Assistance feature is appropriate, will not burden PSAPs and other emergency services, and will improve public safety?
Ford Motor Company has and will continue to work with public safety organizations throughout Europe so that Emergency Assistance meets the needs of Public Safety Answering Points and the general public. So far, this has included receiving input on current and future system features, and the design inputs and system interactions to make Emergency Assistance convenient and useful to PSAPs. Ford has also prepared this educational website for the benefit of Call Takers in multiple languages. Combined with the system precautions to prevent unattended activation, Ford is confident that Emergency Assistance will only activate when vehicle occupants are genuinely in need of police or emergency assistance and that the communications will be intuitive and timely to PSAPs.
If it's a bad enough crash, can the system be damaged or disabled?
Vehicle accidents are extremely unpredictable events. For the system to operate the vehicle's electrical system (including the battery), the wireless service provider's signal, and a paired mobile phone all must be available. The mobile phone needs to be on and operational with the ability to place and maintain a call, Bluetooth®-enabled, paired and connected with the SYNC® system and within range or near the vehicle after it comes to rest. Depending on the severity of the accident, the occupant's mobile phone or the vehicle's systems could be damaged to such an extent that Emergency Assistance would not be able to initiate or maintain a call to 112. In the event that the mobile phone is operational and Emergency Assistance is unable to initiate a call, occupants may still be able to call 112 directly using any available wireless phone. If SYNC® is disconnected it will not interfere with an occupant's ability to use a mobile phone to make a call, just like when using SYNC®'s regular mobile phone calling feature.
How is Emergency Assistance different from an embedded system? Is there a higher chance that embedded systems will “survive” a crash?
Emergency Assistance utilizes the customer's personal mobile phone to make the Emergency Call as opposed to a cellular device embedded within the vehicle. Competitive systems have their own varied and unique system limitations and all systems are dependent on select components functioning after a crash. In regards to Emergency Assistance, Ford solves one of the largest "failure" modes of embedded systems – lapsing subscription fees. Ford provides Emergency Assistance complimentary for the life of the vehicle. Ford takes great care to design robustness into the system when possible. One example of this - if a mobile phone connected just prior to a crash becomes disconnected from SYNC® the system will try and re-connect the phone. If a phone remains unavailable SYNC® will then attempt to connect to and place a call using one of the other vehicle occupants mobile phones (providing they have been previously paired to the vehicle). One of the advantages of being a mobile phone based system is that an individual can leave the vehicle with their mobile phone and remain on the line with the Emergency Call Taker without interruption.