This article was published on November 2, 2021

Still no Apple Car, but we’ll soon (?) get Apple’s car crash detection

For both iPhones and Apple Watches

Still no Apple Car, but we’ll soon (?) get Apple’s car crash detection
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
Story by

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives. Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives.

We’ve been expecting an Apple Car for a while now, but it might happen sometime this decade.

Personally, I’m very satisfied with the few Apple products I own (my MacBook Air, for instance) and I’d be curious to see what the fabled Apple Car would look like, although I’m not really dying over it.

I can imagine though that for those of you who absolutely love the brand, an “iCar” would be like the ultimate must-have, and in that case waiting in uncertainty is torture.

Apple Car Crash Detection
To offer you some comfort, here’s a concept of the Apple Car, inspired by the MacBook Air. Credit: ClickMechanic

But, folks, there’s no need to be in despair. We might not have an Apple Car yet, but we have the closest best thing: Apple’s Car Crash Alerts. And 911 Auto-Dial.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, which cites company documents and people familiar with the matter, the feature would be available for both iPhones and Apple Watches.

The devices’ sensors, such as the accelerometer, would be employed to “detect accidents as they occur,” in part by measuring sudden spikes in gravitational force on impact.

The report claims that Apple has been testing the feature for a year now by collecting data shared anonymously by iPhone and Apple Watch users:

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.

There’s something familiar in there

Does this ring a bell?

It sounds very familiar to the Fall Detection that Apple introduced in 2018 for the Apple Watch SE and Series 4 or newer. It can detect if the user has experienced a hard fall and automatically calls 911, unless the user taps the “I’m OK” button.

Apple Car Crash Detection
The display options when the watch detects a hard fall. Credit: Apple

While I’m not a fan of all of Apple’s features, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a safety feature capable of detecting when you’re in danger and also contacting emergency services in case you’re unable to do so.

To scale up from detecting a hard fall to identifying an actual car crash is definitely impressive and, needless to say, potentially life-saving. I mean, your phone or watch wouldn’t stop a crash from happening, but they could save you valuable time by autonomously alerting 911.

According to the WSJ, Apple plans to launch the feature for iPhones and Apple Watches in 2022, but the timeline isn’t fixed.

So yeah, there’s still no Apple Car on the immediate horizon, but such a safety feature would be by far a much more essential product. And I do hope that when/if the Apple Car arrives, the crash detection won’t be used exclusively by “iDrivers.”

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