Apple’s new car crash detection for the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 is one of the standout additions to Other modestly upgraded portfolio. The focus on user safety is absolutely admirable, especially when you’re not fit for emergency assistance.
The idea is simple. When sensors inside the iPhone detect a sudden impact, the screen lights up and displays a prompt asking if the user needs emergency assistance. If the user does not respond within 20 seconds, an SOS call is made to emergency services and the location of the incident is provided.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends )
However, a false positive can be a rather distressing experience for those close to your circle of family and friends who receive ominous alerts. Filmmaker Douglas Sonders got his hands on it when he fell off his iPhone 14 Pro Max and was run over by other vehicles while riding a motorcycle at 60 mph.
I activated my temporary call and received a call from Voicemail from mom and gf, business partner panicked thinking I was dead and looking for me. Thanks @Apple Crash Alert works, sadly I freaked out my family
… Douglas Sanders (@douglassonders) September 18, 2022
Explaining the ordeal in a Jalopnik article, Sanders revealed that his bike was “hit a bump” while cruising at high speed and ended up “flying out” of the bike’s handlebars. Sonders thought it unreasonable to search for his iPhone on a busy highway.
However, the sudden shock of being ejected from the bike stand and being run over apparently triggered the crash detection system. Naturally, the device reached out to the police as an emergency aid measure. But that’s not all.
“My cell phone apparently texted everyone listed as ‘family’ in my contacts, telling them I was in a car accident,” Sanders wrote. Recalling the harrowing turn of events in the Twitter post, Sanders mentioned that his family was worried about getting sick and that his partner also started panicking to help him, assuming he had an accident.
Douglas Sonders / Jalopnik
“When I’m totally fine, It scared my loved ones to death – and to make matters worse, I didn’t know anyone had received this horrific message,” Sonders added.
Clearly, crash detection, while potentially life-saving, needs some fine-tuning. However, this isn’t the first time Apple products have sent false alerts and worried users.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the occurrence of false alarms about a nearby AirTag without actual discovery. There are also complaints of false positives for the Find My feature on the official Apple Community Forums. Apple’s own research highlights the potential for false positives from its controversial CSAM detection system.
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