Emergency dispatch centers continue to complain about Apple’s new crash detection feature, which is causing a flood of fake 911 calls from skiers and snowboarders.
It reports today New York Post notes that Greene County, New York, and Carbon County, Pennsylvania, have seen significant increases in the volume of bogus 911 calls from local ski resorts due to accident detection. The feature allows the latest iPhone and Apple Watch models to detect a serious car accident and automatically call 911 if the user is unresponsive, but it also activates when some skiers and snowboarders flip over.
Given that emergency dispatchers respond to all calls with an abundance of caution, the influx of false alarms puts pressure on some call centers and can divert personnel and resources from real emergencies. There have been several reports of the problem in other popular ski resorts such as Colorado, Minnesota, Utah and British Columbia, Canada since Apple introduced the feature last year.
In response to the report, an Apple representative said Post that the company was gathering feedback from emergency call centers that have seen an increase in automated 911 calls because of the feature, but declined to comment further.
Crash Detection is enabled by default on iPhone 14 and the latest Apple Watch models, including the Series 8, Ultra, and second-generation SE. When a crash is detected, the iPhone or Apple Watch displays an alert that users have 10 seconds to act on. If the user does not respond, the device starts a further 10-second countdown by beeping and vibrating/tapping, then calls emergency services. Due to ambient noise and thick clothing, however, some users may not be aware that the feature has been activated.
Apple says the feature relies on the iPhone and Apple Watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, as well as “advanced motion algorithms developed by Apple, trained over more than a million hours of real-world driving and crashing.” on record data” for higher accuracy. Like rollerblades, the iPhone and Apple Watch can in some situations perceive the sudden movement of skiing and snowboarding as a car accident.
Apple released iOS 16.1.2 in late November for iPhone 14 models with unspecified Crash Detection optimizations, followed by watchOS 9.2 in mid-December with Apple Watch optimizations. It is unclear whether these optimizations have resulted in a reduction in false 911 calls from skiers and snowboarders. Either way, it will likely take some time before all users update their iPhone or Apple Watch to the latest software versions.
Despite this problem, there have already been several reports of a life-saving feature that alerts first responders to car accidents.