- 911 Assist™ is a subscription-free emergency feature included in more than 7 million Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC® technology; with the customer’s consent, it helps connect vehicle occupants directly to a local 911 operator following an airbag deployment or if the fuel supply shuts off
- Enhancements to 911 Assist, debuting on the 2015 Ford Mustang, will provide dispatchers with additional information beyond available GPS coordinates, including a crash description and safety belt usage
- When introduced in 2008, 911 Assist was the industry’s first automotive technology to call 911 directly following a crash instead of relaying calls through a third party, saving valuable time
New Ford SYNC® 911 Assist™ features debuting on the 2015 Ford Mustang will offer emergency dispatchers more potentially vital information to better inform first responders en route to an accident.
“911 Assist uses a mobile phone connected to SYNC to call 911 directly when needed,” said David Hatton, global product leader and electrical engineer, Ford Connected Services. “With enhanced data, the system will provide even more detail about a crash to aid in the dispatch of the appropriate resources.”
For example, if a dispatcher knows that both front safety belts were fastened at the time of a high-speed collision, he or she may decide to send an additional ambulance directly to the scene. Safety belt monitoring varies based on the airbag systems in the vehicle.
911 Assist requires customer consent to enable the feature when initially pairing a cellphone to SYNC, and the customer has the option to cancel the call before it is placed. In the event of an airbag deployment or fuel shutoff, a direct 911 call is placed using an occupant’s SYNC-connected phone. The operator then receives a brief, prerecorded message that a Ford vehicle has been in a crash and has the option to retrieve vehicle GPS information.
The enhancements will provide the ability to deliver information such as the maximum change in velocity during impact, indication of crash type (front, side, rear or rollover), safety belt usage as detected by the vehicle, awareness of whether multiple impacts occurred and whether airbags were deployed.
“SYNC will only broadcast relevant information to save time, and it constructs a very efficient message for the operator,” said Hatton. “After the introductory message, the voice line opens automatically and occupants can speak directly with the operator via SYNC’s hands-free functionality.”
Ford worked with the National Emergency Number Association to gather input from members, including Eaton County Central Dispatch in Michigan, and to educate emergency responders about the technology.
“We are pleased to continue working with Ford to prolong our vision of any device, anywhere, anytime to provide help needed in the event of an emergency,” said Ty Wooten, education and operations director, National Emergency Number Association. “This new data provided by 911 Assist will be useful in deciding the proper level of the initial response, and will give call takers an indication as to the severity of the incident.”
Staying engaged with the needs and desires of customers, as well as the emergency services community, Ford continues to work with nonprofit agencies such as the National Emergency Number Association as the company develops enhancements to 911 Assist.