Post-Crash/Injury Mitigation Technologies

One method of assisting emergency responders to reach the scene of a vehicle crash quickly is through in-vehicle emergency call systems, also called post-crash notification. These systems enable a driver to summon assistance in an urgent situation.

In the U.S., Ford SYNC® is an award-winning, in-car connectivity system that was introduced on certain 2007 model year vehicles. Beginning with the 2009 model year, SYNC-equipped vehicles come with an occupant communications capability called SYNC 911 Assist. In the event of a severe crash, the ability to directly contact the local 911 emergency operator could be critical, for both the vehicle occupants and first responders. While any cell phone alone could be used in an emergency situation, SYNC can assist in placing a call to a local 911 emergency operator – when a phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC and where the system and cell phone remain powered and undamaged – should a crash with an air bag deployment or fuel shutoff switch activation occur. The key advantage of SYNC 911 Assist is speed, as calls are placed directly to local 911 operators and do not have to be routed through a call center (as in competitors’ versions), which can delay the time it takes to get help on the way. SYNC 911 Assist gives the occupants a choice as to whether or not to make the emergency call, and places the call if the occupant does not respond after a short time.

This voice-activated feature is available to customers with 2008 and beyond model year SYNC-equipped vehicles through a dealer-installed software update. Ford recently announced that we will offer a system similar to SYNC 911 Assist in Ford’s European product range beginning in 2012. We are working with the various stakeholders in Europe to ensure that this type of solution is supportive of the eCall initiative, a pan-European, in-vehicle emergency call system.

The SOS-Post Crash Alert System, which is standard equipment on most Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, is another advance in post-crash safety technology. The SOS-Post Crash Alert System automatically activates the horn and emergency flashers in the event of an air bag deployment or safety belt pre-tensioner activation. The second-generation system – which was added to the 2011 Ford F-150, SuperDuty, Explorer and Edge and the Lincoln MKX – also is designed to automatically unlock vehicle doors subsequent to an air bag deployment or safety belt pre-tensioner activation, to aid in rescue. The system is designed to alert passersby and emergency services to the vehicle’s location.