Apple iPhone may add car crash detection and automatic 911 contact

The iPhone may automatically dial 911 if it detects a car crash with new technology next year, according to a report.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
iPhone 13 Pro, Sierra blue
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iPhone 13 Pro, Sierra blue

Are we in for big iPhone tech updates for the car?

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Apple may be ready to expand on its popular fall detection with something much grander in scope: crash detection. According to The Wall Street Journal, the tech company may add this feature to the iPhone and the Apple Watch starting next year. People may set up the ability for the devices to automatically dial 911 when the system detects a car crash.

This type of feature isn't new to the auto industry, but adding such a system to the iPhone would provide a far wider scope for people to take advantage of the technology. Similar to General Motors' OnStar, Apple's system would use sensors to measure spikes in G-forces suddenly and associate that with a car crash. The company didn't immediately return a request for comment on the Journal report, however, which cites internal documents detailing the potentially new system. The report also noted the tech may still face the chopping block if Apple decides to not release it after all.

The potential for crash detection and automatic 911 dialing follows another report suggesting Apple may want to expand its CarPlay to even more parts of the car. Today, CarPlay handles nearly every element of the infotainment system. Tomorrow, Apple may want it to control a vehicle's HVAC system, gauge cluster and more.

Google introduced car crash detection technology to its smartphones starting with the Pixel 4, which launched in 2019, and added it to older Pixel 3 phones in 2020.

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