Crash detection poses challenges for Canada's helicopter rescue teams

Crash Detection is for car crash help


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British Columbia search and rescue teams complain of multiple false positives in Apple's iPhone 14 crash detection feature — and ask for change.

Crash Detection is a feature available on iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra. It uses multiple sensors on the device to determine if the user has had an accident.

The Globe and Mail reports several reports from British Columbia rescue teams that have encountered the “Apple problem”. Rescue teams flew in helicopters to the scene of the alarm and found that no one was there, and in one case, a confused snowmobile driver.

Apple says there is no silver bullet for crash detection. The devices monitor for high g-force impacts, crash sounds, and sudden stops that may indicate a major accident.

Users have approximately 10 seconds to turn off crash detection and prevent an emergency call. Otherwise, an automatic call occurs and emergency contacts are notified.

Because the device detects an accident, it can be subjected to much more severe testing while in the glove compartment of a snowmobile, in a pocket on a roller coaster, or in a bag on a skier's back. If the user is not paying attention, an emergency call can easily be made without the user's knowledge.

The system is designed to notify emergency services in case a person has lost consciousness or cannot call for help after an accident. It has already proven useful and may have saved lives.

However, emergency services quickly eliminate false positives. One such call can cost respondents $10,000 and their budget is limited.

Several sensors work together using an algorithm to determine if the user is in a crash state

Some are asking Apple to make sure that there is no chance of false positives. Dwight Yohim, Senior Manager, Search and Rescue Association of British Columbia, shared his thoughts on this feature.

“I don't think they counted people in BC who love nature, go off the beaten path and literally zip through the wilderness, whether it's mountain biking or skiing,” said Dwight Yochem. Obviously, it doesn't take much to call it.”

The emergency SOS features on the Apple Watch have also been scrutinized for false alerts. Some users have inadvertently called emergency services by leaning on the Apple buttons for too long Watch.

Apple is actively looking for ways to improve crash detection.In iOS 16.2, users are asked if the emergency SOS service has been activated by mistake — will probably collect more accurate data to prevent false alarms.

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