Russian telematics enters new era as launch deadline approaches – time to get used to аварийный and ГЛОНАСС.

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In thirty-three days (and counting) the whole of Russia will enter a new era of telematics with the operational launch of its Era Glonass system.

And like its EC counterpart, eCall, it promises to bring in a major boost to the telematics sector – throughout Russia, the rest of Europe and India and the Middle East.

And like its EC counterpart, eCall, it promises to bring in a major boost to the telematics sector.

It also pioneers a concept which may require careful evaluation – the use of an entirely privately-owned series of networks. The status of the Russian programme is likely to be a major feature of this weeks telematics conference in Germany.

The name

In Russian, Era means – emergency [аварийный] call. With Glonass [ГЛОНАСС] as the emergency assistance systems and processes – GLObal NAvigation Satellite System – GLONASS. 

 The objective

 Like eCall the objective is a dramatic reduction in road-accident deaths. The Russian government estimates that the Era-Glonass system will reduce emergency services’ time-to-arrival by up to 30%, saving up to 4,000 additional lives every year. [See video, in Russian, here]

 How?

Glonass (a commercially-orientated company) has two main shareholders – seventy-per cent owned by Sistema – the largest asset management company in Russia and about 30% by the Russian Federal Space technology company. Sistema is also a large shareholder in the main telecoms provider in Russia.

The technology comes from the Russian military. Its website says:

GLONASS is a high-technology defense industry product, and an outstanding example of how technologies initially developed for military applications can be adopted for the civilian sector.

The satellite and supporting transmission, reception and data processing capability provides the telematic systems which enable, on the payment of subscriptions, in-vehicle and smartphone applications.

 The founding Era-Glonass principle is to provide coverage on all roads in the country an entire vehicle fleet estimated at 40 million vehicles.

There is statutory support. In 2010 the Russian government made it mandatory for  GLONASS or GLONASS/GPS satellite navigation equipment to be installed in

all wheeled transportation vehicles, railroad rolling stock, high-speed rail, sea and inland waterway transport.

The system is compatible with the EU’s eCall with ‘coordinated standards and protocols, common road safety space’. The functions are set out in the following table:

CORE FUNCTIONS: ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS:
  • Determination and transmission of location and time of the accident
  • Accident severity data
  • Two-way hands-free voice communication
  • Monitoring vehicle movement
  • Vehicle security and recovery
  • Navigation

The in car system transmits to emergency the emergency response – but, importantly, other aspects of in-car system also facilitated

  • navigation
  • remote vehicle diagnostics, maintenance and vehicle function, as well as
  • breakdown and rescue help
  • vehicle location and anti-theft facility

Process

In event of an accident, information about the distressed vehicle, including its exact location coordinates, is automatically transmitted to the standard 112 emergency response centre.

 It is important to note the alert process.

 According to its website then what happens is that the operator

‘verifies that the accident took place by contacting the vehicle’s driver, and dispatches the emergency services, police, and/or ambulance to the accident scene.’

 This is different from eCall’s entirely automatic function.

Additionally subscribers can obtain access an array of additional services, related to navigation, information exchange, remote vehicle diagnostics, and so on. 

But, it is not just to the domestic Russian market that Glonass is looking, and significantly, it is looking toward the Arab-speaking world.

 The enterprise says that it has built within the scope of the Era-Glonass project …

 .. the foundation for development of Glonass technology-based navigation information systems, services, and equipment in Russia, for the benefit of all categories of users.

 Ambitious – in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and Middle East

 Glonass itself is not short of ambitions. It is:

  •  creating of favorable conditions for ‘mainstream adoption of Glonass technologies in domestic and global markets’ and their ‘initiation and support’
  • promoting ‘Glonass commercialization’

  • refining the ‘legal framework’ and

  • working on ‘uniform technical standards’

  • helping create ‘mass markets for competitive equipment and services ‘ based on Glonass technologies
  • exporting these technologies to other CIS countries and then notably ‘Latin America, India, Middle East’

There is no similar extensive civilian project or range of resources available on the UK.

The UK is not participating in the EC eCall project.

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Jonathan Coe, Editor

Journalist and comms specialist for over 40 years – trained in print, broadcasting, and industrial intranet. Written about comms policy (eg. as radio editor at Time Out); held senior comms roles in public bodies (National Health Service, local government) and privatised undertakings (London Electricity – now Electricité de France). Since, has developed interests in the ordinary citizen's use of judicial review to challenge irrational decisions of government and the use of rights (like the Freedom of Information Act) to explore irrational decisions (like the BBC's original decision to close the BBC digital radio service BBC 6 Music).