Think fall detection, but for your car.
Apple is reportedly working on a new “crash detection” feature for the iPhone, reports the Wall Street Journal. Upon detecting what the phone’s sensors determine to be a car crash, an iPhone with this feature could automatically dial 911 for emergency assistance.
The feature, which is said to rely on the iPhone’s already existing accelerometer and other internal components that can detect sudden movement, is reportedly also coming to the Apple Watch and will be released next year. However, the Journal did note that the timing isn’t set in stone, and that crash detection may end up never even coming to the iPhone or Apple Watch at all.
We reached out to Apple in an attempt to confirm the Wall Street Journal‘s reporting, but received no immediate response.
Apple unveiled fall detection with the Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018, and has over the years touted the supposed health benefits of its products.
Notably, a smartphone feature that detects an automobile crash and automatically calls for help is something that already exists. In June, Reuters reported that General Motors intended to sell an app version of its OnStar subscription service. For $15 per month, the OnStar Guardian iPhone and Android app provides crash detection and roadside assistance dispatching to subscribers.
SEE ALSO: Your car knows too much about you. That could be a privacy nightmare.
“The app is designed to use smartphone sensors to detect crashes and alert Emergency-Certified Advisors,” explains General Motors on the OnStar Guardian website. “They can call you and can contact First Responders, providing them with your location.”
In other words, Apple seems to poised to offer a (presumably) free service that, up until this point, users would need to pay for.
Fingers crossed we’ll never actually need to use it.