iPhone 14 and Apple Watch play guardian angels

After fall detection, the Californian brand has equipped its latest Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra as well as its iPhone 14 with car accident detection.

Apple Watch can save lives. This was the opening message for Apple’s keynote, Wednesday, September 7, from the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park in Cupertino (California). In a long video, Apple read letters from users of its smartwatch, thanking the company for saving their or a loved one’s life with its many features, from detecting heart fibrillation to calling for help in case of falls and unconsciousness.

For several years, Apple has wanted to make its products, iPhone and Apple Watch in mind, health allies in all its forms. And it can also take the form of a guardian angel ready to signal that you have a serious problem to consider.

Detect movement in the vehicle

Thus, thanks to its various sensors, including its gyroscope, the Apple Watch is able to understand a fall and knows, if you do not react in the following minutes, to quickly notify a loved one named in your contact list. emergency or even rescue. Last year, bike fall detection was added to the features following the same principle.

This year, Apple introduced accident detection at its annual conference on September 7. Thanks to the new and improved sensors in the iPhone 14 as in the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE 2 and the all-new Apple Watch Ultra, these devices are able to understand that users had boarded a vehicle that was found hurt.

Apple Watch Series 8 crash detection feature
The accident detection feature in Apple Watch Series 8 © Apple

How does it work? Simple enough. All three connected watches have a new, more accurate accelerometer and a new, more efficient gyroscope. Thanks to a sensor fusion algorithm, the built-in barometer, the GPS for the route and speed, and the microphones that pick up the ambient noises in the cabin, Apple is able to detect combinations of elements that signal a serious accident.

It also works for the iPhone’s barometer and GPS, as well as the microphone that picks up typical crash sounds. An advanced motion detection algorithm is added to the elements considered to complete a pile-up. Apple Watch and iPhone can also work together for even more accurate tracking.

Cyclists are not taken into account

The company has also relied on several laboratory crash tests and data collected during real accidents (crashes, rollovers, etc.) with standard cars to design its function and make it usable for passengers in cars, SUVs or other pick-ups.

In the event of an accident, and without a reaction from the user within 10 seconds to indicate that everything is okay, the Apple Watch or iPhone will then send a notification to the list of emergency contacts and call for help. Everyone will then receive the location of the watch or phone. However, this new option will not work for motorcycle riders whose movements are not accurately understood by the algorithm at the moment in the event of a collision (throwing in the air, on the ground, sliding, etc.).

The accident detection feature on the iPhone 14 Pro
The accident detection feature on iPhone 14 Pro © Apple

Note that Apple also unveiled its new Satellite Emergency Call feature during the conference. In case of lack of coverage of a mobile or Wi-Fi network, the iPhone, thanks to its antennas, can connect to a satellite to send an emergency message. The smartphone will then be able to detect the position of a nearby satellite to obtain the best possible connection for its call.

Aware that this may take some time, the iPhone then asks important questions about the person who may be in danger to assess their condition and send the right help. A very useful innovation when hiking or in the middle of a desert, harsh or wild area. But we still have to wait to see it arrive in France. Launching next November and free for two years, the satellite emergency call will initially only affect the US and Canada before being rolled out worldwide over the following months.

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