Apple is reportedly adding an automatic car crash detection feature to the iPhone and Apple Watch, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The feature will debut early next year, likely with iOS 16.
The report claims that Apple will work on using the sensors present in both the iPhone and Apple Watch to detect “a sudden spike in gravity,” the same way Apple’s Watch works at the moment for fall detection. They are no details on how it would be implemented, but likely a notification will pop up, and if the user does not respond to a notification in a timely manner, then the phone will automatically dial 911 or other emergency services. This is how the Apple Watch’s fall detection feature functions.
This would not be an unprecedented feature on a phone. In fact, Google’s Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and other contemporary Pixels support car crash detection and automatic emergency services dialing in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Spain, Singapore, Australia, and Japan as part of Google’s Personal Safety app.
As smartphones are the tools used most by everyone on a daily basis, phone makers have implemented features to help mitigate some of the issues they could cause. Distracted walking is a thing that’s recently happened more and more as people pay attention to their phones to navigate or text while walking around, for example, and a new feature on Android via Google’s Digital Wellbeing app prompts users to look up and pay attention to their surroundings.
On a similar note, mobile phone use accounted for 13.4% of distraction-affected car crashes in 2019, according to a National Safety Council survey. Alongside sleep tracking, headphone volume prompts, and other similar features meant to reduce the negative effects of smartphone overdependence, car crash detection would fit right in.