Last year, Apple released its new iPhone 14 series, all of which included a new “crash detection” feature that allows users to detect if they have been in a serious car accident and call emergency services.
The number of reports of users triggering Apple’s “crash detection” feature while skiing is increasing. As a new feature on the iPhone 14 series and Apple Watch Ultra, crash detection received positive feedback when it was first introduced.
According to officials, multiple sensors including motion sensors, microphones, barometers, GPS, CarPlay and Bluetooth are built into the crash detection device to work together. In the event of a crash, the sensors work at once, detecting the user in multiple directions and even being able to tell if the car is rolling over.
If the user does not respond to the on-screen message within a preset time, the system will automatically notify the emergency contact and rescue center. Motion sensors can detect the precise moment of impact, as well as any changes in the vehicle’s motion or trajectory.
The microphones are used to detect loud sound levels that could indicate a crash and are turned on only when driving. The barometer can detect changes in air pressure after the airbag is deployed while the window is closed.
GPS can be used to detect speed before any sudden lack of movement and notify the device that it is on its way. CarPlay and Bluetooth give the algorithm a signal that the phone is in the car and watch for accidents that might happen.
Foreign media reported that Apple’s “car crash detection” function caused a controversy in several U.S. states by misreporting rescue resources. Especially since it was Christmas abroad at the end of last month, many American users chose to go skiing.
According to media reports, 911 and emergency dispatchers across the United States received a large number of false alarms. Summit County, Colorado, received 71 false alarms from four ski resorts over the weekend alone. Rescue workers were also struggling to get word of false alarms even after their helicopters had taken off.
In the past, users have accidentally triggered the crash detection function while skiing, and dispatchers in Utah say the number of false 911 calls is increasing.
They often get a call and say that the owner of the Apple Watch or the iPhone has been in a serious crash, or they’ve been in a car accident, and people don’t respond at first on the phone because they didn’t know the call had been made, and then they usually say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I was skiing. Everything is fine.”
The dispatcher said he now receives three to five emergency calls a day from similar Apple devices, none of which are made consciously.
Meanwhile, online users have confirmed that skiing can actually trigger the crash detection function, with one user claiming that his Apple Watch started dialing 911 while he was going down a hill at moderate speed. So while skiing, users might want to turn off the crash detection feature on their iPhone 14.
Since then, Apple has released a new version of its firmware, iOS 16.1.2, with an update that includes “optimized crash detection for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models.”
Some believe that Apple has noticed this happening and is working to improve the experience. But judging from the feedback so far, it seems that the problem has not been alleviated and has even worsened.
For this reason, many netizens believe that a large number of false alarms from the iPhone have led to the rescue workers wasting their efforts, wasting rescue resources and delaying the people who really need help. It is really wrong.
Technology can help, but only if it doesn’t break existing rules. It has also sparked widespread debate about whether the iPhone’s car-crash detection function is too sensitive, which some argue is so necessary that it is better to make a mistake than to miss it.
However, some people believe that a large number of errors are the algorithm is not accurate enough, in today’s limited rescue resources, Apple should temporarily reduce the sensitivity, such as the algorithm is improved, the function is normal after the restoration.
According to the latest reports, Apple has been working with local emergency services to further mitigate the issue, but no actual system update has been rolled out yet, and it remains to be seen if Apple can restrict the feature later in the system.