Automotive > Infotainment & Telematics Blog

Rescuing Crash Notification from 3G Shutoff

by Roger Lanctot | Mar 10, 2022

Transportation visionary Joni Mitchell captured the 3G shutoff quandary facing the European and U.S. auto industries succinctly in the words of “Big Yellow Taxi:” “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”

Connected services accessible via 3G connectivity in millions of cars from a couple dozen auto makers are in the process of being eliminated – most notably automatic crash notification. Moans one VW owner on the VWvortex forum:

“Happy and Healthy New Year Guys,

“I have 2018 Atlas that was bought January 1st 2019 has extended warranty on it - would be a nice to have a resolution.

“I know 2018 VW Car-Net is not failproof.

“I know it doesn't have remote start.

“I know this feature gives false sensor readings when I have to run 5 blocks cause my don't disturb feature on the phone completely ignored warnings from 5 hours ago that trunk is open (and it was closed!!!!).

“But and it is A BIG BUT it saved my life in the accident when I was hit and spun out on major highway it called fire department, ambulance and police before I knew what happened.

“On another note anyone has any thoughts on alternatives - I know Viper does something similar but not sure if they provide SOS feature.

“Did anyone research how much would it cost to get my2020 feature for VW cars and install in our older models?

“for crying out loud hope none of you had to ever use its most important SOS feature but it is worth it - how much is 4g radio costs?!”

This poster is fairly polite, though confused and upset. Others are outraged. It's not unusual for lawsuits to result from such a removal of service - especially one with life-threatening implications.

No one thinks they are going to have a car crash. And most believe that when they do, they’ll be able to call for help on their own smartphone – which is only true in the event that they remain conscious.

The demise of 3G networks, in the U.S. and Europe (where eCall emergency calling is required in cars – but was built for 2G and 3G networks) has thrust car connectivity into the limelight. It took the removal of the technology to force consumers to the recognition that car connectivity existed and that it was something they cared about.

Car makers are scrambling to offer aftermarket solutions – most notably Audi, which offers a dealer installed device from that not only restores connectivity in 4G/LTE but also delivers automatic crash notification functionality. This is a first of its kind deployment from these two partners – Audi and – and marks a critical turning point for the automotive aftermarket. and Audi are showing how to deliver an aftermarket emergency response solution to cars at the precise moment when millions of car owners are losing this vital function. Joni was right – you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone – but Audi and are bringing it back and all auto makers are re-prioritizing automatic crash notification.

Now, if only Joni could bring back those big yellow taxis which themselves are becoming a bit harder to find. 

A complete list of effected cars as published by "The Van Haessler Doctriine" on WSB95.5 in Atlanta:

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