eCall whitepaper

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u-blox’ solution for European eCall WHITEPAPER locate, communicate, accelerate Combining GPS and GSM to provide rapid assistance to motorists in the EU Stefano Moioli, Product Manager, u-blox Carl Fenger, Communications Manager, u-blox August 2011 Whitepaper by: MNS-X-11005



Transcript of eCall whitepaper

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u-blox’ solution for European eCall



te, c







Combining GPS and GSM to provide rapid assistance to motorists in the EU

Stefano Moioli, Product Manager, u-blox

Carl Fenger, Communications Manager, u-blox

August 2011

Whitepaper by:


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Table of contents Executive Summary 3

eCall 4

The requirements of the eCall system 5

The u-blox eCall solution 5

GPS subsystem 5

Development of in-vehicle eCall systems (IVS) 6

u-blox’ eCall test environment 7

In-band modem demo setup subsystems 8

In-band modem demo operation flow 9

Deployment of the u-blox eCall evaluation environment 10

LEON GSM modem certification 10

C26 Telematics Reference Design 11

Microchip PICtail development environment for IVF terminals11

Forwards compatibility with 3G networks 12

Conclusion 12

About the Authors 13

About u-blox 14

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Executive Summary WiththeimminentdeploymentofEuropeaneCallin2014,developmentofIn-vehicleeCallSystems(IVS)isinfullswing.Thecorrectchoiceofcom-ponentswillhavealargeaffectontime-to-market.ImportantfactorstoconsiderarethepossibilitytoverifyIVSdesignsbeforeeCallisdeployed,theabilitytosupportdesign-inrequirementsofclosely-coupledGPSandGSMsubsystems,comprehensivesoftwaresupport,component-levelcertificationoftheGSMmodem,forwardcompatibilitywithfuturewirelesstechnolo-gies,andtheavailabilityofautomotive-gradeGPSandGSMcomponentsinhigh-volume.Thispaperexaminestheserequirements.

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eCall A European initiative to combine GSM and GPS for vehicle emergency services is eCall, a project by the European Commission to provide rapid as-sistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere in the European Union. The system is officially defined as a “Pan-European automatic in-vehicle emergency call system”.

The service, which is planned for initial implementation in 2014, is backed by numerous car, truck and bus manufacturers and the European Auto-mobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

The system will monitor in-vehicle sensors for such events as airbag deploy-ment to automatically transmit location details and summon assistance via GSM emergency cellular service “112”, the universal emergency services number adopted throughout the European Union and Switzerland.

When activated, the in-vehicle eCall system (IVS) automatically initiates an emergency call carrying both voice and data (including GPS location data) directly to the nearest 112 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to deter-mine whether rescue services should be dispatched to the known position.

The motivation for eCall is the reduction of the consequences of the road accidents in Europe:• 40,000 people killed and more than 1.2 million injured (EU statistics from

2007)• Economic loss caused by road accidents: € 160 billion per year• Potential to save 2,500 lives and save € 26 billion each year in the EU

The core functionality of eCall requires an embedded computer that con-tinuously monitors crash sensors and GPS receiver in order to initiate an automated data and full duplex voice call via a dedicated GSM modem in case of an emergency condition.

The goal is to equip all cars in the EU with this hardware either as first-mount unit in new cars, or installed in pre-existing vehicles (after market devices).

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The European eCall system for automated accident assistance is planned for deployment across the EU by 2014

The European Union’s eCall concept

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eCall The requirements of the eCall system are:

• Both data and voice call must utilize the same physical voice channel (SMS channel is not suitable due to delay and lack of prioritization, and

GPRS has low priority than voice and may not be consistently available everywhere)

• It must be fast and reliable: voice channel set-up confirmation (ring-back tone reception) must occur no more than 4 seconds after the call is initi-ated.

• The existing cellular network architecture must be used without modification• A minimum set of mission-critical data (MSD) of 140 bytes (including time,

location and vehicle description), plus a full-duplex voice communication channel must be supported over the same channel.

These requirements dictate that the GSM transceiver implements an “in-band modem” that allows data transmission over the voice channel, similar to the way a fax machine operates over telephone networks.

3GPP has initiated the standardisation process of the in-band modem solu-tion for eCall data transfer (3GPP TS 26.267: “eCall Data Transfer; In-band modem solution; General Description”) and the related reference software (3GPP TS 26.268: “eCall Data Transfer; In-band modem solution; ANSI-C reference code”). The solution consists of an eCall in-band modem pair, usually referred as IVS eIM (IVS eCall In-band Modem, eCall data transmit-ter) and PSAP eIM (PSAP eCall In-band Modem, eCall data receiver).

The u-blox eCall solutionWith deep knowledge in both GPS and GSM, eCall is a perfect application of u-blox’ converged technologies. As the only provider of embedded GPS and GSM modules, u-blox’ eCall solution provides many features that opti-mize the interoperation of GPS and GSM subsystems: a common host inter-face, embedded TCP/IP stack, embedded assisted GPS (“AssistNow”) client, embedded dead-reckoning, in-band modem, firmware update over-the-air, automotive grade components, and an end-to-end eCall test environment.

GPS subsystemu-blox provides stand-alone GPS receiver chips in automotive quality grade (AEC-Q100, ISO/TS 16949) that are suitable for supporting the GPS subsys-tem requirements of in-vehicle eCall systems. Three possible u-blox solutions are:

• UBX-G6010-SA GPS single-chip receiver for vehicle applications. The chip integrates RF and Baseband processors.

• UBX-G6010-SA-DR GPS single-chip receiver with Automotive Dead Reck-oning for vehicle applications (available Q3 2011). Automotive Dead Reck-oning is the ability to extrapolate vehicle location based on information provided by external heading and distance sensors. This allows navigation in shielded environments such as tunnels and park houses; refer to the whitepaper “u-blox’ Dead Reckoning for Automotive Applications”.

• UBX-G6000-BA/UBX-G0010-QA GPS chipset. Same as above but with RF and Baseband processors separated.

All three solutions provide stand-alone GPS functionality on a small PCB area, either autonomously, or in conjunction with an Assisted GPS service to aid and accelerate positioning during cold-start conditions or weak GPS signal environments (refer to u blox’ AssistNow A-GPS online service). For more information, see

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UBX-G6010-SA automotive-grade GPS single-chip receiver

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eCall Alternatively,forafter-marketIVFdevices,au-bloxGPSreceivermodulecanbeused,forexampletheMAX-6,NEO-6orLEA-6familyofGPSmodules.TheseareallcompactstandaloneGPSreceivermoduleswithhighintegra-tionofpassivesresultinginaminimumexternalBOM.

LEON-G100 Automotive: compact GSM modem module for vehicle telematics

For more details, please visit our website at:

GSM subsystemTo support eCall over the existing 2G mobile phone networks in the EU, u-blox provides the LEON G-100 GSM module. The module provides an in-band modem option according to the 3GPP TS 26.267 specification. It supports eCall data transmission requirements over the voice channel, a mandatory requirement.

The LEON-G100 module is a compact, UART-controlled 30 x 19 mm surface-mount device in a 50-pin LCC (Leadless Chip Carrier) package. It is suited for small embedded devices in vehicle environments and operates from –40 to +85° C.

LEON also includes a bidirectional I2C compatible DDC interface dedicated to relaying host commands or A-GPS data directly to u-blox GPS receivers, as well as for reading location data directly from the GPS receiver.

It also supports firmware update over the air (FOTA), an attractive feature due to the currently evolving eCall specifications.

In-Band modem capability is supported by both standard grade and auto-motive grade LEON versions.

Development of in-vehicle eCall systems (IVS)At the time of the writing of this paper, eCall specifications are not frozen. Design of IVS devices, however, is already possible if flexibility for changes to comply with new developments can be made 100% through eIM firmware upgrade. The LEON-G100 fully meets this requirement, allowing IVS OEMs to already design and test “Ready for eCall” products.

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eCall u-blox’ eCall test environmentTo facilitate the design and evaluation of IVS designs based on LEON-G100, u blox has developed a comprehensive testing environment enabling the verification of the overall in-band communication and the development of customer eCall devices using u-blox wireless and GPS sub-systems.

The test environment uses a LEON-G100 evaluation kit (which includes a GPS receiver) implementing the IVS and eIM and establishing a voice call over the real network with a u blox LISA-U130 module connected through USB with a PC or laptop computer (LISA is a u-blox 3G modem module used in GSM mode in order to take advantage of its USB port for interfacing to the PC).

The digital audio stream containing the MSD sent by LEON over the In-Band modem channel is received by the LISA module and forwarded to the PC or laptop computer via a dedicated USB channel. The MSD is than decoded by the PSAP embedded in u-blox’ m-center PC software. The u-blox In-Band modem test environment is very easy to set up thanks to off-the-shelf kits and software. It is an extremely powerful test environment to verify the In-band modem capabilities of LEON and the performance of customer devices embedding LEON either in a test lab or in a driving scenario,

The test setup is outlined below:

List of hardware:• Notebook PC controlling the EVK-G20 LEON-G100 eval kit via m-center

software• EVK-G20 LEON-G100 evaluation kit with integrated IVS and eIM with a

SIM card.• EVK-U1x LISA evaluation kit with a SIM card (contact u-blox to order)• Notebook PC for controlling the LISA evaluation kit

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eCall In-band modem demo setup subsystems

IVS Simulator: EVK-G20 LEON-G100 eval kitA notebook computer communicates via standard AT commands to the EVK-G20 LEON-G100 evaluation kit which is mounted with a LEON GSM module with embedded in-band modem capability and a NEO-6Q GPS receiver module. The evaluation kit comes with all the accessories and soft-ware needed to easily connect it to the notebook computer and to the air interface.

The LEON-G100 is the core of the in-band modem demo set up and it is an ideal starting point for the development of “eCall ready” automotive boxes

PSAP simulatorThe hardware part of the PSAP simulator consists of a PC or laptop comput-er running u-blox’ m-center wireless evaluation software. The PSAP simula-tor embedded in m-center takes care of the synchronization between the IVS (LEON) and the receiving device (EVK-U1x eval kit wit LISA module), the audio lines management, and of the MSD decoding.

u-blox’ EVK-G20H LEON-G100 Automotive evaluation kit

u-blox’ EVK-U12 LISA HSUPA/EDGE/GPRS/GSM Evaluation Kit

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eCall In-band modem demo operation flow

The LEON-G100 must be configured via AT commands interface to activate its In-Band modem capability using the following u-blox AT command:

AT+UIBMSTAT=1,1 // Switch on InBand modem

The PSAP software is then launched to set the PSAP ready to receive the In-Band signalling

After In-Band modem capability switch-on and PSAP activation it is possible to establish a voice call to the phone number related to the SIM inserted in the LISA module:


The call is then setup and the analogue audio signal sent by the IVS (LEON) is provided by LISA to the mCenter tool via USB for data processing.

The UIBMDATA command is then sent to the LEON to trigger in-band activa-tion and to send the MSD over the voice channel.

AT+UIBMDATA=1,0, “4D5344” //Activate In-Band modem and configure MSD (4D5344 in this example)

The PSAP closes the audio paths to give highest priority to the MSD recep-tion, receives and decodes the MSD embedded in the voice stream, proper reception is acknowledged to the LEON and the decoded MSD is displayed in the PSAP screen. After MSD receipt the audio paths are open and a voice communication is established between PSAP and LEON (e.g. simulating the communication between the car driver and the call center).

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eCall Deployment of the u-blox eCall evaluation environment


LEON GSM modem certification

GSMmodemsaresubjecttocountry-specificgovernmentapprovals. Inad-dition, operator-specific certificationswithin each countrymay also be re-quired.Withouttheseapprovals,anIVFdevicebasedonthemodulewillnotbeallowedtooperateoverthatcountry’soroperator’smobilenetwork.


With this fact in mind, u-blox’ LEON GSM module has been rigorouslyprequalified by numerousmajor government, standards organizations andwireless operators, in particular AT&T (USA), GCF (global), FCC (USA), IC(Canada),PTCRB(global),andR&TTE(Europe),SRRC(China),Anatel(Brazil),RogersWireless (Canada), NCC (Taiwan)ACMA (Australia)GOST (Russia),andTelefónicaMóviles(Colombia).

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eCall C26 Telematics Reference Design

To help our customers bring their IVF terminals to market even faster, u-blox introduces the C26 GPS and GSM reference design with integrated SMT antennas. The C26 is a complete and integrated solution for telematics ap-plications such as eCall, fleet management, stolen vehicle and asset track-ing, road pricing, and security/surveillance. It demonstrates the integration of u-blox’ NEO-6Q GPS receiver with a LEON-G200 GPRS/GSM module. This 100% SMD solution uses SMT passive GPS and GSM antennas.

Both wireless and GPS modules act as slave devices, directly controlled by the notebook PC. To reduce host interfacing, a direct interface has been implemented between the LEON GSM modem and the NEO-6Q GPS mod-ule to feed AssistNow data directly to the GPS module on demand (if A-GPS option is implemented), or directly read GPS longitude/latitude. This archi-tecture also supports autonomous assisted-GPS operation without loading the host processor.

The LEON-NEO architecture also means host control of both wireless and GPS module are routed through the LEON GSM module. LEON relays control messages to the GPS receiver via a simple 2-wire I2C interface. This means no additional control lines are needed between host processor and GPS receiver.

Microchip PICtail development environment for IVF terminalsAlternatively, a complete development environment can be ordered from Microchip. The Machine-to-Machine (M2M) PICtail™ Daughter Board comes with all of the hardware, wireless communication protocols and applica-tion code examples needed to help designers jump start their eCall, fleet-management or location-based service applications. Developed together with u-blox, the Daughter Board includes the u-blox NEO-6Q GPS and LEON GSM/GPRS modules, and interfaces with Microchip’s Multimedia Expansion Board, and PIC32 Starter Kit. The board enables the quick and easy creation of designs offering communications, as well as a complete graphics inter-face, with audio, accelerometer and networking capabilities.

The M2M PICtail Daughter Board is available for purchase at microchipDIRECT today. Designers who already own a Microchip Multimedia Expansion Board and PIC32 Starter Kit can simply purchase the Daughter Board to add GPS/GSM/GPRS functionality to their designs. Alternatively, all three components can be purchased individually, for under $500 total, including the debugger/programmer that is built into the PIC32 Starter Kit.

For further information, contact any Microchip sales representative or autho-rized worldwide distributors.

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eCall Forwards compatibility with 3G networks

Technology only develops in one direction…forwards! GSM networks will ultimately be succeeded by 3G, then 4G technologies. That is why u-blox maintains a “backwards compatibility” philosophy when developing its next generation of wireless modules.

Backwards compatibility in this case means u-blox’ next generation of 3G wireless modules, the LISA family, is layout compatible with LEON (PCB can be designed in order to host either LISA or LEON modules), offering both GSM/GPRS and UMTS/HSPA functionality while maintaining small size, and low-power. u-blox’ philosophy of form-factor consistency means your IVF designs can be easily upgraded to meet next year’s innovations and network requirements.


With the imminent deployment of eCall, development of IVF terminals is in full swing. The correct choice of components will have a large affect on time-to-market. Important factors to consider are the supplier’s know-how and ability to support design-in requirements of GPS and GSM subsystems, comprehensive software support, certification of the GSM modem, for-ward compatibility with future technologies, as well as the ability to deliver high-quality automotive-grade components in high-volume. u-blox, with its world-class production partners TSMC, Amkor, Global Foundries and Flextronics, has an established track record as a reliable vendor on a global basis. We believe we are your ideal partner for eCall components.


• 3GPP TS 26.267: “eCall Data Transfer; In-band modem solution; General Description” (

• 3GPP TS 26.268: “eCall Data Transfer; In-band modem solution; ANSI-C reference code” (

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About the Authors

Stefano Moioli

Stefano has more than 10 years of international experience working in the wireless consumer and M2M telecom industry and has covered several positions in R&D, sales and marketing.Stefano holds a Bachelor in electronic engineering with a specialization in telecommunications from the University of Trieste and a MBA from the MIB school of management of Trieste. Stefano loves to spend his free time with his two children Iacopo and Elena and playing tennis.

Carl Fenger

Carl has 25 years of international experience working in the semiconductor, software, telecoms, and GPS industries based in the USA and Switzerland. Carl is a published author of numerous technical articles and conference papers in the areas of embedded computing, telecom services billing, and broadband multimedia distribution. Carl holds a Bachelors of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California. Carl is a classical pianist and avid chess player.

Stefano Moioli

Carl Fenger

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About u-blox u-blox is a leading fabless semiconductor provider of embedded position-ing and wireless communication solutions for the consumer, industrial and automotive markets. Our solutions enable people, devices, vehicles and ma-chines to locate their exact position and wirelessly communicate via voice, text or video.

With a broad portfolio of GPS modules, cards, chips, and software solutions together with wireless modules and solutions, u-blox is uniquely positioned to enable OEMs to develop innovative solutions quickly and cost-effectively. Headquartered in Switzerland and with global presence in Europe, Asia and the Americas, u-blox employs 200 people. Founded in 1997, u-blox is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Copyright © 2011 u-blox AG

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior per-mission of the copyright owners.

Published by u-blox AG, August, 2011

Any comments relating to the material contained in this document may be submitted to:

u-blox AG Zuercherstrasse 68 8800 Thalwil Switzerland [email protected]