Mercedes-Benz has been forced to recall more than one million cars in the US after it discovered a fault with the eCall system that automatically alerts emergency services in the event of a collision.
The problem could result in the wrong location being sent by affected cars, potentially leading to longer ambulance response times.
The issue also affects models outside of the US, although Mercedes is refusing to provide “any further details at this time” regarding specific models or the numbers affected.
It said that an over-the-air software update would be rolled out in due course and that it would stay “in close contact with the local authorities” in the meantime.
“Product quality and safety are a top priority for Mercedes-Benz and for this reason we continuously monitor service operations worldwide,” the company said in a statement. “During this product monitoring, Mercedes-Benz has found that in certain vehicles of various model series, the communication module Hermes for the emergency call system (eCall) does not comply with the specifications.
“In rare cases, this could mean that in the event of an accident-related temporary drop in a vehicle’s voltage, the communication module might not communicate the correct current position when an emergency call is made/triggered. All other functions of the automatic and manual emergency call function remain fully operational.”
eCall has been a mandatory feature in all new cars in Europe since March 2018. The European Parliament estimated that it could reduce road deaths by as much as 10% per year by making the technology standard on all vehicles.