A Wall Street Journal report says Apple has been testing the feature for a year thanks to data anonymously sent by users. That’s led to the detection of 10 million suspected vehicle incidents.
According to internal documents spied by the Wall Street Journal, 50,000 of those detected incidents led to 911 calls in the United States. The report says the feature uses the iPhone’s range of motion sensors to detect sudden changes in g-forces that could mean there’s been an impact.
The WSJ writes:
“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.”
According to the report, Apple plans to roll out the feature in iOS 16 and watchOS 9 next year. Whether it’ll require newer hardware remains to be seen, but it seems Apple has at least had success testing it on current devices.
The feature sounds like an extension of the fall detection tools already available within the Apple Watch and available from Series 4 and up. On the wearable, if it detects a hard fall, users are presented with options like “Emergency SOS” and “I’m OK”
If the watch then detects you’re immobile for a minute, it’ll call the emergency services. If you have an Medical ID set up, the first responders will be able to access your details, if you’ve enabled Share During Emergency Call setting.
It’s possible the feature might be similar if Apple rolls out crash detection, although it’s not clear whether it’ll give you the option to skip the call to the emergency services if everyone’s fine.