iPhone and Apple Watch could get car crash detection next year

iPhone and Apple Watch could get car crash detection next year

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Apple Watch car crash detection
That would be handy!
Photo: Huggs2 CC/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly plans to bring “crash detection” to iPhone and Apple Watch next year, with the ability for both devices to automatically dial 911.

The feature is said to use existing sensors like the accelerometer and gyroscope, already baked into both devices, to measure sudden spikes in movement or force that will allow them to “detect car accidents as they occur.”

Apple Watch could call 911 when you crash

Apple Watch already offers fall detection, which, as its name suggests, uses built-in sensors to detect hard falls and then gives users the option to call emergency services. It can also send a message to select contacts.

Apple plans to do a similar thing for car crashes next year, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. And it has already been working on the feature quietly in the background by studying real car crashes.

“Apple products have already detected more than 10 million suspected vehicle impacts, of which more than 50,000 included a call to 911,” reads the report, which cites leaked Apple documents and sources with knowledge of the plan.

“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.”

Planned for 2022

Details on the feature are slim for now, but it is believed it will function a lot like fall detection to detect a vehicle smash, and then give users the ability to quickly call 911 — or initiate a call automatically if no response is detected.

Google offers a similar feature on recent Pixel smartphones, so we know it’s possible. The report says Apple plans to release its own take on the feature next year, but as is always the case with these things, that could change.