HomeAutomotive TechnologyApple iPhone 14 and Watch Series 8 get Car Crash Detection

Apple iPhone 14 and Watch Series 8 get Car Crash Detection

The new Apple Watch Series 8 has an improved gyroscope and accelerometer that can detect a car accident. That was one of several announcements made at Apple’s event in Cupertino this morning, where the company showcased its latest technological and service innovations.

Google has been offering car crash detection on certain Pixel smartphone models for some time, and the newly announced iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, and iPhone 14 Pro have it as well. The Series 8 is, however, one of, if not the, only smartwatch on the market with the feature.

The Series 8’s car crash detection is enabled by a new three-axis gyroscope and “high g-force” accelerometer that samples data four times faster than the previous generation (and up to 256 Gs of force). The Series 8 can detect crashes in most types of vehicles and automatically notify emergency contacts and services if the user does not respond within 10 seconds, according to Apple, by leveraging an algorithm running on the device and the barometer.

Apple explains it thusly in a press release:

To create the [crash detection] algorithm, data was collected from these new motion sensors at professional crash test labs with common passenger cars in simulated real-world accidents, including head-on, rear-end, side-impact and rollovers.

In addition to motion data, crash detection uses the barometer, GPS and the microphone on [a paired] iPhone as inputs to detect the unique patterns that can indicate whether a severe crash has taken place … When a severe car crash is detected, the emergency services call interface will appear on Apple Watch, as it is most likely to be in closer proximity to the user, while the call is placed through iPhone if it is in range for the best possible connection.

Apple reportedly developed the aforementioned algorithm using data shared anonymously by iPhone and Apple Watch users. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple used a dataset of more than 10 million suspected vehicle impacts to improve the accuracy of the crash detection system, cross-referencing the crash data with 911 calls — because crashes involving 911 calls are more likely to be legitimate.


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