New features in all four iPhone 14 models, as well as Apple Watch Series 8, Ultra and SE 2 include car crash detection. The devices use various of the integrated sensors to detect with as little doubt as possible that the user has had a crash. An emergency call function is then activated immediately, which runs automatically as long as it is not canceled manually.
How accident detection works
Apple has now published an overview in English of how this is implemented in practice. In addition, information became known about how Apple trained its machine learning algorithms to implement the function. Apparently that was quite a hassle. The car accident detection should work – be it a collision from the side, from the front or from behind – with sedans, minivans, SUVs, pickups and “other cars”. Tests with trucks have apparently not been carried out.
If an accident is detected, the iPhone first reads out that it has detected a crash and also shows this on the screen. If you don’t respond, an emergency call is made. The watch, in turn, gives a signal and vibrates, also displaying a message. If the watch is connected to a WiFi network or LTE, it also tries to make an emergency call. Cancellation is also possible here. The emergency call is made as an announcement if the user cannot speak themselves. It is informed that there has been an accident, and the coordinates are also communicated.
Harmony of the sensors
Apple uses a variety of data sources to detect accidents. This includes the – more accurate – acceleration and gyro sensors integrated in the supported devices, but also the microphone of the iPhone and Apple Watch and the air pressure sensor. According to Apple, the system was trained on over a million hours of real crash and driving data, and Apple is said to have carried out crash tests itself.
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In Apple’s view, its products are becoming lifesavers more and more often: almost every presentation by the company that also deals with the Apple Watch mentions that the computer watch detected illnesses early or helped in emergencies – always in connection with corresponding user reports. Some of the more cynical comments have already said that Apple wants its customers to feel like they could die without its products. In fact, the group is apparently making a lot of effort to implement such features. However, independent tests still have to show how well the accident detection works – it remains to be seen whether they will be carried out at all. Of course, Apple does not guarantee that the technology will work.
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