When telematics service providers (TSPs), such as OnStar and ATX Technologies, receive location and/or automatic crash notification (ACN) data from a vehicle in their call centers, they must verbally relay the information to a single emergency response agency (i.e. 9-1-1, or police or EMS dispatch).
The process typically involves a single phone call to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), without any associated data. Emergency response agencies beyond the PSAP are generally not notified of the incident. However, a wealth of potentially valuable data exists at the TSP that would be helpful if provided to the right emergency response agencies.
A matter of life or death
Details that could make a real life-or-death difference in an emergency response include injury prediction (based on sensor readings from the vehicle), exact vehicle location, make and model, together with extrication information and medical records of the driver. The challenge is to be able to transmit such data from the TSP to emergency response agencies.
Many emergency response agencies, from 9-1-1 to EMS to the hospital, are keen to be involved in creating, sharing and using crash and related data in real-time. There is therefore a critical need to develop a standardized data set for ACN and other vehicular emergencies.
Such a standard was first proposed during the US National Mayday Readiness Initiative (NMRI), which stated that “efforts need to be made to develop the capability to send crash data from TSPs to multiple public safety agencies” and that a uniform ACN data exchange format is needed.
In 2004 Comcare’s ACN Working Group released its first draft version of the Vehicular Emergency Data Set (VEDS), which was developed in the light of comments from system suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, service providers, emergency responders and other public officials. The resulting data set, now called VEDS 2.0, expands the data collected about a crash, to include the rate of deceleration and direction of impact.
First applications pending
VEDS 2.0 will be used in OnStar’s impending release of advanced ACN (AACN)-equipped vehicles to help responders determine the severity of the crash.
Initially designed to transmit ACN crash data to an emergency agency, VEDS also serves as a data receptacle, collecting important bits of information as the response effort unfolds. The data set can contain data transmitted directly from the vehicle, such as vehicle speed, airbag deployment, direction of force and rollover as well as information from the telematics provider about the vehicle and its owner.
Questions asked by a 9-1-1 operator about the age and gender of the occupants, and data from responders and witnesses at the scene can be added, and the likelihood of serious injury can also be computed.
Improving emergency response effectiveness
VEDS can positively impact the outcome of vehicle crashes. With electronic notification and injury detection, these technologies have the ability to reduce emergency medical services (EMS) notification and response times while, at the same time, identifying specialized response needs, such as air medical services and trauma center support before responders arrive on scene. More importantly these technologies can save lives and prevent permanent disabilities.
VEDS 1.0 is currently being used by OnStar in a Department of Transportation sponsored test being conducted in Minnesota. It is also being tested in Orlando, Florida where OnStar is sending crash data directly into its 9-1-1 Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
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