One of the new features of the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 is the so-called crash detection. A YouTuber has now tried this himself with cars.
After Apple announced its new iPhone and Apple Watch models at the beginning of the month, which for the first time come with car accident detection, the question arose as to how the manufacturer’s information on the new feature could be checked. Does “Crash Detection” really work reliably on the iPhone 14, 14 Pro, 14 Plus, 14 Max, and Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra? A YouTuber has now gone to a North American field, positioned several accident cars and a used vehicle – and actually carried out crash tests himself.
Accident detection works
In a total of two tests, which covered different degrees of accident severity, it was shown that Apple apparently did not promise too much. Of course, the investigation was not really scientific, but the crash detection was reliably triggered in both cases. YouTuber TechRax had equipped an old sedan with a crude “autopilot” that operated the gas pedal. The autonomous vehicle then crashed sideways onto a burned-out wreck without the airbags being deployed – but the accident was also detected by the iPhone here.
In the second attempt with other accident vehicles as “crash targets”, the test was even more impressive: The vehicle crashed into it with sufficient force, the airbags were deployed and there was also major damage to the front. It was always interesting that the crash detection was not triggered immediately after the impact, but a waiting period of 10 to 15 seconds was observed. That sounds logical since an accident victim must certainly be given some time to struggle.
No false alarms
Apple has trained its car accident detection using machine learning (ML) and, according to its own statements, has carried out and recorded “millions of driving hours” – including its own crash tests. A large amount of data is important so that false triggering does not occur. Nothing of this was visible in the YouTuber test either, although the vehicle was moving over a hilly field at quite high speed.
Various data are used by Apple for crash detection. These are the acceleration and gyro sensors, but also the microphone of the iPhone and Apple Watch and the air pressure sensor, which can be used to detect the deployment of airbags. According to Apple, a revised generation of detectors was installed in the new devices, which is why the feature does not work on older models either – only the company itself knows whether this is really true. The data is processed locally and not in the cloud. Users can decide for themselves whether an accident report, which also contains location information, is to be passed on or not – the triggering can be interrupted after detection.