ADVANCED AUTOMATED CRASH NOTIFICATION
The GM OnStar system was developed to focus on safety and security. Perhaps the most game-changing enhancement to the platform was the introduction of Advanced Crash Notification (ACN), which had the aim of automatically and systematically initiating communication between the vehicle, passengers, and emergency services in the event of a severe crash.
The system dramatically increased the value of OnStar in the marketplace by adding an automated, life-saving safety service to the GM fleet. ACN was designed to detect severe accidents, collect pertinent crash data, and share that data with emergency services personnel. When the system detected the crash, the vehicle was to initiate a call to the OnStar call center, and thereby an OnStar Advisor, who could then communicate with the driver or passengers, and triage the crash.
ACN was also the first system ever developed to integrate with National 911 centers, also known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), which further increased OnStar's value in the marketplace.
- No such system had ever been developed
- Integration between an OEM and PSAPs had never been done
- Two dependent projects were behind schedule and considered “red”
- No API existed to complete integration testing with any other systems
How the challenges were overcome:
The pertinent crash data was transmitted to the OEM Data Center and OnStar Call Center, where a live Advisor would be able to place a call back to the vehicle and talk with the driver and other passengers, enabling a more thorough triage. The data was also shared, via Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), with the nearest PSAP being dispatched to the crash.
Persis developed a harness system that simulated dependent components to a detailed level, including simulating system loads. Once the harness was in place, the Persis team proceeded to develop the Crash Notification system in a simulated environment where auxiliary system responses were controlled. Under these controlled environments, the Crash Notification system was completed and deployed, and was waiting for the other components to be completed.
Once the auxiliary systems came online, the Crash Notification system functioned flawlessly, including integration to the Minnesota PSAP (the pilot PSAP).
Most cars have a black box, much like what is in an airplane, which is built to withstand even the most severe of crashes. The deployment of airbags is most often used as a signal of a crash in vehicles.
This service was a game changer for the OEM because it brought tremendous safety and security value to vehicle owners and their families. This system literally began saving lives the day it went live.
The vital information collected from the last seconds preceding the crash included data such as:
- Measurement of impact based on the change in speed
- Number of seats occupied to quantify victims, and, based on weight in the seat, if any were children
- Whether the car rolled, and if so, how many times
- Final position of the car following the crash
- Vehicle state (engine running, doors open, etc.)
- Location of the vehicle
- Vehicle VIN
Prior to this project, such a system had never been built, and it was initially piloted in a narrow geographic area before being rolled-out nationwide. Many innovations designed as part of this project significantly impacted the vehicle’s embedded systems, the OEM Data Center, and the Call Center.
The success of this project was significant from yet another perspective: it was dependent upon two other projects being handled by two other vendors, neither of which were progressing according to overall program timelines. Persis had to have the other systems in place to ensure seamless interoperability of the Crash Notification system.
Because we had little influence on the timelines associated with the other projects, Persis developed simulators that closely matched their operations. Persis matched the operation of the Crash Notification system against these simulators and deployed the system on time before the others were completed. Once the other systems came online, the Crash Notification system worked flawlessly.
This system has laid the groundwork for additional value-added systems to be developed in the future, such as including data streams to include personal medical records of the passengers, which would further aid the first responder’s efforts.