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The European 112-emergency number to reach new heights thanks to Galileo

on 21 February 2022

As of March 17, 2022, all smartphones sold in the European Union should be leveraging Galileo signals, in addition to other Global Navigation Satellite Systems. The addition of the EU positioning system to enhance the 112-calls location will result in faster response times and consequently, more lives saved.

The European 112-emergency number is operational in nearly all EU Member States, as well as other countries. People in danger can call it 24/7 to reach the fire brigade, medical assistance and the police.

How does 112 work in Europe?

So far, in the event of a 112 call, the caller’s location information was established through identification technology based on the coverage area of a cellular network tower (cell-ID). The average accuracy of this information varies from two to ten kilometres, which can lead to significant search errors following emergency calls, often resulting in time wasted and potentially, lives lost. In contrast, location information based on GNSS provides an accuracy of down to a few metres. This level of accuracy will have a major impact in terms of response times, ultimately allowing for quicker intervention in emergency situations in which every second counts.

Galileo contributing to saving lives across Europe

The ability for 112 to communicate a caller’s location to emergency services automatically is already being rolled out. The protocol designed for this purpose, called Advanced Mobile Location (AML) is currently being deployed across the European Union. When a caller dials 112 from their smartphone, AML uses the phone’s integrated functionalities and data from Galileo to accurately pinpoint the caller’s location and transmit it to a dedicated end-point, usually a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), which makes the caller location available to emergency responders in real-time.

More details here.

Image credit: European GNSS Service Centre