ATX Boosts BMW Emergency Response Technology

The telematics service helps improve emergency workers' crash response by evaluating the risk of severe injury following an accident.
Telematics services vendor ATX Group on Monday said most 2009 and later BMW autos will include an enhanced automatic collision notification application that does a better job at determining the risk of severe injury following an accident.

ATX, which has operated BMW's assistance response centers in the United States since 2001, said it has added a "unique algorithm" developed with the carmaker and the William Lehman Injury Research Center in Miami. The software better analyzes crash data automatically transferred from the vehicle to the response center.

Following an accident, the center receives an alert, which includes vehicle location and damages. Voice communications with the riders is also automatically established.

The response center conveys all information to local authorities to help police and medical personnel determine the appropriate response.

"This is a critical next step in using vehicle-generated data to help emergency dispatchers more quickly assess the nature of the emergency, and aid emergency responders in more accurately determining triage criteria," ATX president Steve Millstein said in a statement. "It has the potential to save precious minutes in identifying and transferring critically injured patients to the appropriate care, as well as providing more information to prepare awaiting hospital emergency staff."

More than a half million BMW vehicles with the carmaker's emergency response service are in operation in the United States and Canada.

Telematics is becoming increasingly important not just in assistance following a car crash, but in encouraging more environmentally friendly driving. Carmakers Audi of Germany, Fiat of Italy, Kia of South Korea, and Honda and Nissan of Japan are now offering and developing features ranging from an indicator on the instrument panel that gives ecological driving advice to sophisticated real-time driving pattern comparison via a telematics system, according to market researcher iSuppli. In addition, manufacturers' and aftermarket navigation systems are providing eco-friendly, fuel-efficient paths as part of route calculations.

U.S. carmakers, however, have yet to match their competitors and are "behind the curve" in eco-friendly telematics, iSuppli said. Instead of such features, Detroit is more focused on power-train technologies, such as hybrids or battery-powered electric vehicles.