In January of this year BMW announced another breakthrough in the area of occupant protection;BMW’s “Risk of Severe Injury” algorithm. In 2009 models (excluding the X3) equipped with BMW Assist if an accident occurs, this BMW system collects data from on-board control units and transmits it automatically to the BMW Assist response center. There, the data is evaluated using a unique algorithm developed by BMW and the William Lehman Injury Research Center to determine the probability of severe injury. Rescuers can now be informed not only of where an accident took place, but also the risk of severe occupant injury. This past week OnStar announced a similar development.

OnStar ‘s announcement shows that the auto industry is now beginning to try to convince the CDC to update protocols for using injury prediction at Public Safety Answering Points (911 centers). Such widespread adoption & development are the bases on which BMW originally believed that this technology will save thousands of lives.

According to Peter Baur (BMW ‘s product analysis manager), “With [this development, OnStar is] raising their ability in respect to ACN (Automatic Collision Notification) to the level of BMW’s enhanced ACN. They announced using an injury prediction based on the CDC expert panel’s recommendation, which basically adopted the BMW/WLIRC Urgency approach. Together we now have hopefully enough vehicles with eACN ability on the road to influence the handling at the PSAPS and EMS based on injury prediction. GM claims to have 4 Million vehicles on the road which are able to transmit crash severity, the basis for injury prediction. Now it is important to coordinate with CDC and OnStar the thresholds and the way the injury prediction information is transmitted.”

These recent developments are great steps towards saving lives in accidents as responders can better prepare for what the needs of the victims are. With BMW and GM now both offering this advanced technology, PSAPs and EMS centers will have additional information to better help the victims of accidents.

The original BMW release can be found here.

The OnStar announcement can be found in PDF form here.