The Mayday Plus project was a six-month field operational test designed to evaluate an automated accident location and collision severity notification system. The system used cellular telephone technology and global positioning systems (GPS) to establish voice and data communications between test vehicles and public agency emergency dispatch centers charged with eliciting response actions in Minnesota.
In general, basic Mayday systems allow passengers to activate hands-free in-vehicle communications systems and request assistance. More advanced systems use in-vehicle sensors to monitor vehicle condition such as, vehicle orientation, acceleration/deceleration, and airbag deployment. These commercially available systems can automatically establish a communications link between vehicles and third party response centers (private message centers) and provide additional details on location, nature, and severity of an incident that can be relayed to public safety answering points.
The Mayday Plus system developed and deployed during this project consisted of a cellular handset, a transceiver and antenna, a GPS antenna, a backup battery, and a black-box. The specially designed black-box automatically transmitted crash data to an emergency dispatch center based on pre-set crash threshold activation levels. The black-box data included vehicle orientation, change in velocity, principle direction of force, heading of vehicle prior to crash, and vehicle/driver identification.
Although the report recognized the rapidly changing Mayday market, system cost data for several Mayday commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products were provided in the report. These products were similar in functionality to the Mayday Plus in-vehicle unit evaluated. Car manufacturers installed some of these products as factory installed options, while others were installed after market. The cost range for after market products was $400 to $1,895. The Mayday Plus black-box function, however, was not listed as a feature in any of the commercial Mayday/Automatic Collision Notification (ACN) products provided in the report.
Monthly service fees ranged from $10 to $27. Service fees vary depending on the level of service offered. Some Mayday system providers offered a free one-year subscription.
Mayday devices typically do not link directly to public emergency dispatch centers, but instead use third party response centers (private message centers) to screen calls. During this field operational test; however, public emergency dispatchers were used instead of third party response centers to facilitate the evaluation.
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After market device cost range: $400 to $1,895 (1998).
Monthly service fee: $10 to $27 (1998).