Apple might be planning to release a new feature on iPhones and Apple Watches next year called “crash detection”. The feature reportedly will give the devices the ability to detect when you’re in a car crash and automatically call emergency services.
How it would purportedly work is that the phone or smartwatch would use data from its built-in sensors, such as the accelerometer, to detect the instance of a car crash by measuring the sudden spike in g-force on impact. Other health and safety features that take advantage of the accelerometer include the fall detection feature, introduced in the Apple Watch Series 4, and the new walking steadiness measurement added to the Health app in iOS 15.
Documents sighted by the Wall Street Journal say that Apple has been working on the crash-detection feature by collecting data shared anonymously from iPhone and Apple Watch users. The products have detected more than 10 million suspected vehicle impacts, 50000 of which included a call to 911. The 911 call data is used by Apple to improve the algorithm’s accuracy, but the documents don’t say how exactly Apple users are sharing data with the company.
Apple wouldn’t be the first to add this feature on a phone, as Google already introduced a feature on Pixel phones via its Personal Safety app that detects car crashes and alerts emergency services. As for the Apple Watch, the tech giant is reportedly also working on turning it into a more advanced health device, with a blood-pressure sensor, fertility tracking, and diabetes detection.