Apple is testing a life-saving feature for the iPhone, which may be available next year

Apple Watch has become an indispensable device in my life, so I arranged a "997" working hours for it.

Swipe the bus card in the morning and evening to monitor the changes in heart rate every day, and then be responsible for recording the body index of the corresponding strength training at night. And it has become the "peripheral" that I wear the longest time besides glasses.

After starting to focus on "health", almost every generation of Apple Watch will advance in the field of body monitoring. In Apple Watch Series 7, although the so-called "blood pressure", "body fat" and other indicators are not detected on the hardware, in watchOS 8, Apple is still expanding the scope and accuracy of body monitoring.

The "fall detection" function, which was launched as early as Apple Watch Series 4, is also more "accurate" on Series 7 and can be said to be smarter.

To achieve such an effect, it relies on the upgrade and optimization of the algorithm, so that the Series 7 can distinguish whether it is a fall during physical training. When introducing Apple Watch Series 7, Apple also showed that it can recognize "car crash" accidents when riding. Perhaps the more robust body of Series 7 is also prepared for this (mistake).

In fact, after the "fall detection" function is launched, there will often be "life-saving" news. On the one hand, this function is indeed useful for some people; on the other hand, the accuracy of fall detection is not bad, at least it can be judged that there is a fall trend.

In the future, Apple may extend functions similar to "fall detection" to the iPhone or even CarPlay. The monitoring object is not you and me, but "vehicles."

iPhone may know that there was a car accident

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) learned from related documents that Apple may launch a feature called "crash detection" for iPhone and Apple Watch next year.

▲ Picture from: The Verge

This feature is similar to "fall detection", which automatically detects whether the user has encountered an accident, automatically dials 911 to call the police, and may also immediately notify the emergency contact.

The principle is also similar, using the sensors in the iPhone and Apple Watch to monitor the acceleration of gravity g, and then identify it according to the corresponding algorithm if it is soaring.

It is also stated in the document that Apple has been testing related functions for many years. And collected relevant data anonymously provided by iPhone and Apple Watch users.

As a result, Apple has detected more than 10 million suspected vehicle crashes, including more than 50,000 calls to 911.

▲ For reference only. Picture from: cultofmac

These data and 911 related alarm calls are used to train and correct the "collision algorithm" in iOS and watchOS.

However, the initiative for the launch time of the new feature "Crash Detection" is still in Apple's hands.

Has always been the "hide" function in Pixel

The "crash detection" that may be available on iPhone and Apple Watch is actually not a new feature.

▲ Picture from: 9to5Google

As early as Pixel 3, Google launched the "car accident detection" function. Pixel will call information such as mobile phone location information, movement sensor data, and surrounding sounds to determine whether it is in a "car accident."

When the mobile phone "confirms" the car accident, it will directly call the local emergency number, and will also send location information and car accident data to the emergency service agency.

However, Google also prompts that "mobile phones may not be able to detect all car accidents." There may be false alarms and non-reporting (just like airbags); and sending out distress signals also requires the support of mobile networks and better signals.

Including Pixel 3 to the current Pixel 6 series, the "car accident detection" function can be regarded as the "hidden skill" of the Pixel series.

▲ Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Picture from: cnet

Over the years, this feature provided by Google for Pixel is only available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Japan, and Australia, and only supports three languages: English, Spanish, and Japanese, so the scope is limited.

And, a series of related "safety" functions of "car accident detection" have not been rolled out on other Android phones. To put it bluntly, the influence of Pixel is too small, and the so-called "personal security" function has not been promoted as a standard feature of Android phones.

In addition, there are related apps on Google Play that can replace related functions, and the corresponding mobile phone data is also called.

The number of ways to make money for traditional car companies

Not only Pixels and apps, but traditional car companies have already laid out "collision detection". As early as 1997, BMW set up a remote transmission vehicle and location in the car, and in an emergency, when the airbag bounces, the call is activated.

▲ Onstar safety system equipped by General Motors. Picture from: businesswire

Similarly, GM equipped with "OnStar", Subaru's Starlink, Chrysler's Uconnect, etc. all have such functions.

However, these vehicle safety systems, in addition to "collision detection", are shared with dealers and repairers in daily conditions to provide "intimate" and personalized services, such as oil status, brake pad wear, etc. , Often receive marketing information.

▲ The emergency call function of the app provided by OnStar. Picture from: newsweek

The most important thing is that OnStar and Uconnect have also learned the essence of matching. In addition to the basic package, many functions require constant renewal, such as OnStar’s remote control car, vehicle anti-theft, car WiFi, etc. The free functions are only Active rescue.

As a result, according to GM data, the "OnStar" safety system will bring GM an additional US$2 billion in revenue every year. Among traditional car companies, a mature "safety assurance" system has become a service that can increase revenue.

▲ Picture from: General Motors

However, although traditional car companies started early, with model iterations and safety system changes, the early warning capabilities of models of different ages are not the same. For some old models, there is no safety detection system, or the safety system is not effective, there is still a lot of room in the whole market.

Apple's advantage is still a combination of soft and hard

In 2018, the online car-hailing giant UBER also began to introduce functions such as "car accident detection" called ride check.

Similar to the apps mentioned above, they use the phone’s GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors to monitor the relevant state of the vehicle to determine whether it is in a "car accident state."

UBER’s ride check function is actually a measure in the creation of a "safe traffic platform". In addition to unconventional conditions such as car accidents, when the vehicle is stationary for a long time during the trip, passengers will be notified and will determine whether it will be based on the response. Take the next step (including automatic alarm).

Using mobile phone sensors to determine vehicle conditions often requires a fairly mature algorithm to avoid false touches. UBER has successively developed the ride check function for more than a year, collecting data from hundreds of thousands of trips in the past for training and comparison.

In addition to UBER's ride check, Zendrive in the United States also focuses on similar collision detection, and there are many similar companies.

But they are more like an obscure backstage, lacking a user base who walks to the front desk and combines the huge blank space of the moment.

Back to the "collision detection" that Apple may launch.

▲ Apple A15 chip.

In the Wall Street Journal report, there was no mention of whether this new feature has hardware thresholds, such as A-series processors, accelerometers, sensors, etc., or even additional hardware alone for this purpose.

In addition, from the perspective of open patents, since 2014, Apple has published a series of patents on "fail-safe detection and alerting". The documents describe how mobile phone sensors or car sensors detect that the user encounters an emergency situation. Send out signals automatically.

A simple example, when the iPhone detects a sudden change in the accelerometer and the Apple Watch cannot detect the heart rate, iOS will think that the user has a heart attack and falls, and will alarm or contact family members according to the settings.

In fact, it is the subsequent "fall detection", and related situations can also be used for "car accident detection" and some emergencies.

Although from the current information, there is no accurate information on how Apple conducts "car accident detection", but according to convention, its principle should be similar to Google and UBER, but Apple's advantage lies in ecology and algorithms.

watchOS 8 is already able to determine whether it is physical training or riding a "car crash" through enhanced algorithms, and it will also have a certain degree of accuracy for "car accidents".

The "safety services" provided by traditional car companies are mixed, giving iPhone and Apple Watch the opportunity to enter the field of car safety through the function and service of "collision detection". It may be an expanded function of Carplay now, or it may be dream-linked with Apple's car-building plan. Perhaps this is just the beginning.

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