What do you know about car's automatic collision notification (ACN)?

Updated Aug 09, 2022 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers

Determining if your vehicle is capable of calling for help or assistance in case you happened to be involved in an accident. Everything you need to know about Automatic Collision Notification.

With the fast advancement when it comes to automobile tech, we can almost expect our cars to do everything for us. While this is not yet possible, the vehicles designed today can do amazing things already. The sci-fi dreams of automobile engineering from years ago are slowly coming to life today.

Most of the improvements we see in most vehicles today include comfort, convenience, and safety. Under safety, there are all sorts of innovations that can prevent an accident from happening. Some examples are the lane departure warning, the blind-spot detection system and so on.

There are also other developments designed to minimize the injuries you sustain in an accident has happened. There is the roll-over protection system, the side-impact, knee and rear seat airbags and so on.

car interior

Most of the improvements we see in most vehicles today include comfort, convenience, and safety

But what happens after the accident? Do you call for help? Do you dial 911? This is what most people would do if they’re ever caught in an accident. But what if the accident left you incapacitated?

You may be left incapacitated, dazed, knocked unconscious and unable to pick up the phone. How will you tell people to come and get you? Let your vehicle do the job for you. Philkotse.com will elaborate on everything you need to know about Automatic Collision Notification. 

1. How can your vehicle tell people that you need help?

Advanced vehicles are now equipped with a system called ACN or the automatic collision notification. This is composed of a few different systems with a common goal – to call for help in case of an accident.

The implementation and design of CAN systems vary from one automaker to another. However, these automakers typically utilize the sensors that are built into the vehicle. Most of the systems also make use of local cellular networks in calling for help.

two girls inside the car

Advanced vehicles are now equipped with a system called ACN or the automatic collision notification

An example of this intelligent smart system is the one from Onstar. Other prominent systems that carry with the same goal are Toyota’s Safety Connect, Ford’s 911, and BMW Assist. Most drivers and passengers are usually incapable of summoning help after an accident. This is why these systems are important.

>>> Read more: Top 7 modern driver-assist features in cars today.

2. How does automatic collision notification (ACN) work?

There is no single system that can be directed as the actual ACN process. However, most of the systems out there are tied to using the available sensors of the vehicle. The ACN system monitors the state of the vehicle using the same sensors it uses to deploy other emergency systems. The same sensors that activate the airbags, the lane departure warning, etc., activate the ACN.

automatic collision notification

There is no single system that can be directed as the actual ACN process

When an accident occurs, your vehicle will deploy the airbag as well as the ACN. The system usually utilizes a cellular phone service in connecting to an available operator. The attending operator will then be the one to talk to the passengers or driver. If the driver or passengers say that they need help, the attending operator will dispatch emergency services to the accident location. If there is no response, the same protocol is followed by the operator.

There are also cases when the ACN system will immediately direct a call to the emergency services right after the accident. These types of systems will usually provide the driver or passengers with an option to drop the call if it was accidentally activated.

3. Does my vehicle have ACN?

 The application of the ACN along with other innovations is limited to new vehicles. However, not all manufacturers have this system yet so you may want to ask your dealer if the car they’re selling has OEM-specific services like Onstar. You can also inquire if it has 911 Assist or Safety Connect which basically does the same thing.

Mercedes Maybach with car model

 The application of the ACN along with other innovations is limited to new vehicles

If you have an older car, you still add this amazing feature for your ride. Simply get a product for your car like the OnStar FMV. Even though the FMV doesn’t provide the same features as it would in an updated car, it still has the same goal. Once it detects a crash or collision, it will immediately call emergency help services via phone networks.

>>> Also read: Car safety features to beat drowsiness while driving.

4. How was the ACN created?

The ACN was originally developed by a lot of original equipment manufacturers. However, it was Onstar that was able to first make it publicly available. Because of the company’s large base on the field, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) partnered with General Motors to create for the now-effective ACD.

The CDC created a panel of experts to analyze crash telemetry. They then created a report on how to use the said crash telemetry to make a close estimate to the possible severity of injuries and effective emergency care.


It was Onstar that was able to first make it publicly available

5. Is the ACN really a necessary feature?

The main advantage of having a car with the automatic collision notification is that it can call for help automatically. If you’ve been in an accident and are incapacitated, the system will automatically call for help via phone network.

However, as we expressed earlier, the system may vary from one manufacturer to another. Other systems may contact the emergency services immediately. There are also some that will phone the operator first.

Vehicles without an automatic collision notification will not be able to call for anyone when an accident occurs. The situation gets harder and more lethal if the driver and passengers are either incapacitated or unconscious. In a situation like this, the only chance for emergency aid and services is the possibility that a passerby walks by and contacts help.

>>> Have you known 

Lexus Enform: Automatic Collision Notification

In more rural areas where the road traffic is scarce, the possibility of a passerby is smaller. This is when the situation becomes more dangerous for the possible survivors of the accident. Every millisecond of time that passes can translate to a lower chance of the passenger and/or driver surviving.

According to a study conducted by the NHTSA or National Highways Transportation Safety Administration, systems like the ACN can reduce the time it takes for the victims or passersby to call emergency services.

The average time that it takes for people to call for help is about four minutes. Compare that to the mere second's reaction time of the CAN and you save more than 3 minutes of time.

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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