Apple to Bring Car Accident Detection to iPhone: Wall Street Journal

Apple to Bring Car Accident Detection to iPhone
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Apple to Bring Car Accident Detection to iPhone

Highlights

Apple is reportedly working on a new iPhone and Apple Watch feature that detects if you're in a car accident and dials 911 automatically. The present plan is to roll out such a feature next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Google's personal safety app on Pixel phones already includes a feature to call for help when it detects car accidents, as do connected car services in modern vehicles, including GM's OnStar, Subaru's Starlink and Fiat's Chrysler Uconnect. Many cars on the road today are not equipped with any connectivity features, so getting crash detection on an iPhone also means that more drivers can get the help they need in an accident as long as they have one in their pocket or dash-mounted.

The rise of unsafe smartphone use in cars gave way to integration systems like CarPlay and Android Auto, the first to appear on nearly 80 percent of new vehicles in 2020, according to Apple. Building a new accident detection feature on the iPhone in conjunction with CarPlay could bolster Apple's "IronHeart" project to connect your phone to car settings in the same way that HomeKit controls smart lighting and speakers. Aiming for the $ 2 billion annual revenue stream GM brings to OnStar with built-in features would be very Apple's thing.

While Apple's crash detection hasn't always worked as expected in the past, the company has had many years to collect data and analysis on iOS and watchOS users who want it. It remains to be seen how accurately Apple will be able to detect car accidents, with much fewer people falling. Speaking from personal experience, I fell off a scooter in February 2020 with an Apple Watch Series 4, and the device was ready to call emergency services until I pressed the "I'm fine" button. But after a more recent trip and fall incident, my Apple Watch Series 7 offered no help.

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