iPhones and Apple Watches Could Detect a Car Crash and Auto-Dial 911 Starting Next Year

Apple is planning a new feature for the iPhone and Apple Watch that would enable the devices to detect if you are involved in a car crash and automatically dial 911 for emergency services, according to The Wall Street Journal's Rolfe Winkler.

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Apple plans to launch the "crash detection" feature in 2022, the report claims, citing company documents and people familiar with the matter.

The feature would use iPhone and Apple Watch sensors like the accelerometer to "detect car accidents as they occur" in part by measuring a sudden spike in gravitational force, more commonly known as g-force, on impact.

The report claims that Apple has been testing the feature in the past year by collecting data shared anonymously by iPhone and Apple Watch users, and the devices have apparently already detected more than 10 million suspected vehicle impacts. As with any feature in testing, the report cautions that Apple could choose not to release it.

From the report:

Apple products have already detected more than 10 million suspected vehicle impacts, of which more than 50,000 included a call to 911.

Apple has been using the 911 call data to improve the accuracy of its crash-detection algorithm, since an emergency call associated with a suspected impact gives Apple more confidence that it is indeed a car crash, according to the documents.

The feature sounds similar to Fall Detection on the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer, which can detect if the wearer has experienced a hard fall and automatically call emergency services unless they indicate that they are okay.

Google already offers a car crash detection feature on some recent Pixel smartphone models.

Top Rated Comments

Apple_Robert Avatar
12 weeks ago
I hope this news is true. It would be a real life saver.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MRrainer Avatar
12 weeks ago
All (new-ish) cars in the EU do this already.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECall
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jamie0003 Avatar
12 weeks ago
This sounds cool but what about if you’re on a fairground ride?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BulkSlash Avatar
12 weeks ago
If they’ve been using the 911 calls to train the accuracy, doesn’t that mean really serious accidents where the driver is not conscious and unable to make the call are being excluded? ?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Canyda Avatar
12 weeks ago

Driving an old banger I may be wrong, but thought modern cars now have this built in?
Not that I am against this at all, just hoping that it doesn't result in a lot of false / duplicated calls to the call centres.
I suspect it will and I suspect a lot of people will deactivate it as a result.

I think only cars with something like OnStar have this built in, and I believe it's a pay/subscription service. My wife's new Rav 4 came with that package for an extra cost, which we declined.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
slineaudi Avatar
12 weeks ago
Cool. Apple hardware is not cheap but they do a nice job of just including services like this that the rest of the industry badly wants you to pay for as monthly service.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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