Digital guardian angel

Dramatic minutes that could have turned out so much worse: Marcus Spickermann and his family from Stuttgart were in their Mercedes E-Class station wagon when it skidded off the freeway and crashed. Help was dispatched using Bosch’s emergency eCall system exactly as planned. A reconstruction.

January 31, 2013 – 6:57 p.m.:

The family climbs into their black Mercedes E-Class station wagon in Hagen, a city in western Germany. After just a few minutes, the children, aged two and five, fall asleep in their car seats.


7:45 p.m.:

The weather gets worse. The temperature falls to six degrees Celsius. It starts to sleet, making the A45 freeway between Dortmund and Aschaffenburg dangerously slippery.

8:18 p.m.:

Marcus, 36, reduces his speed to just below 80 kph. The rain gets heavier.


8:20 p.m.:

On a slight bend between Meinerzhagen and Drolshagen, the Mercedes suddenly skids on the slick road surface, its rear sliding toward the crash barrier. The car hits into the sloping edge of the crash barrier, which acts like a ramp and sends the car airborne. It crashes into two trees and plunges about 15 meters down an embankment, where it can no longer be seen from the road.

8:23 p.m.:

In the vehicle, the family is in shock. All are still conscious. The children are crying, and their mother is bleeding from a gash on the head. Marcus’s first thought is, “I have to call an ambulance,” but he can’t find his cellphone. Then he catches sight of the communication management display: “Emergency call activated.”


8:27 p.m.:

A few minutes later, a voice can be heard inside the car.

“Mercedes-Benz emergency response center.
We have received report of an accident.”

Spickermann: “Yes, we’re somewhere in the woods. We need help. The back of the car is stuck in a tree.”

Operator: “We have your location. Is anyone hurt?”


Spickermann: “I’m in the car with my wife and two children. My wife has a cut on her head; I don’t know about the kids.” 

Operator: “Okay, the ambulance is on its way. Do you want me to stay on the line?”

Spickermann: “No, that’s alright. I’ll check my family are OK.”



8.28 p.m.:

Spickermann gets out of the car and checks on his children. The family apparently has a guardian angel. “After the initial shock, knowing at that moment that help was on the way was incredibly reassuring,” Spickermann recalls. Just a short time later, the first ambulance arrives on the scene.

© Märkischer Zeitungsverlag (MZV), Lüdenscheid

8:52 p.m.:

Two ambulances take the family to the hospital in Lüdenscheid.


9:21 p.m.:

Arrival at the emergency room. About half an hour later, the family can rest assured that no one was seriously hurt. The family is discharged from the emergency room and goes to spend the night with friends in Hagen.


Spickermann: “We’ve put the accident far behind us and don’t really talk about it any more. But one thing’s for sure: I’ll always have eCall in my car.”

Saving lives


Bosch introduced its eCall service in 2012. In the event of a car accident, the emergency call system is activated automatically or manually, thus guaranteeing that help arrives quickly. Right after an accident, vehicle occupants often can’t locate their cellphones right away.

Today, some 1.5 million vehicles around the world use this emergency call system, which Bosch offers in 16 languages in more than 30 countries. Starting in 2018, every new passenger car model in the EU will have to be equipped with emergency eCall systems, which the EU Commission estimates will be able to save up to 2,500 lives every year. To name just one advantage: the system reduces the time it takes for local emergency services to arrive on the scene by up to 50 percent.

The eCall system sends relevant data such as location, time, and direction of travel by GPS or text message to an emergency control center operated by Bosch Service Solutions. A voice connection to the accident vehicle is established and, if necessary, the police or emergency services are notified. In addition to specially trained associates, the Bosch emergency call response center offers another major advantage: its associates can communicate in the right language. This means that, even if an Italian traveler has an accident in Spain, Bosch’s eCall will communicate with them in the language they have specified – in this case, Italian. And the local emergency services will be notified in Spanish.

Bosch Global Service Solutions

  • When the eCall emergency call system has been activated, being able to communicate with those involved in the accident in their native language can make all the difference, regardless of where the accident takes place. That’s why Bosch’s eCall emergency response center currently offers

    assistance in 16 languages.

  • In



    elevators, Bosch sees to it that help arrives quickly in an emergency.

  • Again and again on Sundays at 10 p.m. things really heat up at the call center. The weekend restriction on certain trucks is lifted and monitoring starts for numerous transports in Germany and abroad.

  • Bosch first offered its eCall service in 2012. Today, it’s a feature in

    1.5 million vehicles worldwide.

    And that number continues to grow. Forecasts predict four million vehicles will be equipped with eCall systems by 2018, rising to six million by 2020.

  • Since


    Bosch has been gaining experience as an operator of call centers with communication services..

  • Approx.


    cameras with built-in microphones and speakers are operated by the video control center, and used to monitor parking lots or solar parks and to support security guards on their rounds. Some 1,000 of those cameras are connected with the cloud.