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Apple is Working to Detect Car Crashes

Apple is working on a new iPhone and Apple Watch feature that detects if you are in a car crash and dials 911 automatically. The current plan is to roll out such a feature next year.

Google’s Personal Safety app on Pixel phones already includes a feature to call for help when it detects car crashes, just like connected car services in modern vehicles do, including GM’s OnStar, Subaru’s Starlink, and Fiat Chrysler’s Uconnect. Many cars on the road today are not equipped with any connectivity features, so getting crash detection on an iPhone too means more drivers can get the help they need in an accident as long as they have one in their pocket or mounted to their dash.

Apple said that the rise of unsafe smartphone usage in cars made way for integration systems like CarPlay and Android Auto, the former appearing in nearly 80% of new vehicles in 2020. Building a new crash detection feature into the iPhone alongside CarPlay could bolster Apple rumored “IronHeart” project to connect its phone with car settings in the same way HomeKit controls smart speakers and lighting. Targeting the annual $2 billion revenue stream that GM brings in with OnStar with the built-in features would be a very Apple thing to do.

Apple accident detection hasn’t always worked as intended in the past, the company has had many years to collect data and analytics on willing iOS and watchOS users. It remains to be seen how accurately will be able to detect car crashes.

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