A woman’s brand new iPhone 14 Pro alerted Ohio police last month that she was in a serious car accident and unresponsive – when in reality she was just enjoying mountains Russians.
Sara White, 39, and her family were on a trip last month to Kings Island, an amusement park outside of Cincinnati, when she decided to brave the Mystic Timbers ride.
The dentist kept her two-day-old phone in her fanny pack, the Wall Street Journal reports, as she was lifted 109 feet into the air and spinning at 50 mph.
But unbeknownst to her at the time, her iPhone’s new car crash detection feature detected the sudden acceleration and braking, and assumed she was in a devastating crash.
He then dialed 911, telling dispatchers at the Warren County Communications Center in an automated message, “The owner of this iPhone has been in a serious accident and is not answering his phone.”
This message was repeated seven times during the nearly two-minute call, picking up ambient noise of screams in the background and music.
By the time White got off the ride, she found her lock screen was filled with missed calls and voicemails from an emergency dispatcher asking if she was okay.
When she again failed to respond, officers were dispatched to the roller coaster but did not locate the emergency.
Eventually, while ironically queuing for bumper cars, White realized what had happened and called the police back to report she was fine.
Sara White was on the Mystic Timbers roller coaster at King’s Island, outside of Cincinnati when her iPhone 14’s collision detection called 911
It was just one of six fake iPhone crash detection calls the Warren County Communications Center has received from the Kings Island amusement park since the new iPhone 14 models went on sale. in September.
Similar alerts were also triggered by the Joker roller coaster at Six Flags Great America near Chicago, draining local police department resources.
“We are very vigilant on calls,” said Melissa Bour, director of emergency services for Warren County. ‘No calls are verified.
“You get used to calls that aren’t urgent, but that’s wear and tear on the dispatchers.”
The iPhone 14 has a new sensor with a high G-force accelerometer that detects when the user has been involved in a car accident, such as “side impact, rear collision and rollovers”.
HOW DOES THE IPHONE 14 CRASH DETECTION WORK?
The iPhone 14 introduced a new “Collision Detection” feature that automatically detects when the user has been in a serious car accident and calls emergency help if they are unconscious or unable to move. reach for his phone.
Apple’s latest iPhone models feature a dual-core accelerometer – capable of detecting G-force measurements of up to 256 G – and a new high dynamic range gyroscope.
These are used in combination with components from previous iPhone models, such as the barometer, which can detect changes in cabin pressure, the GPS for additional input for speed changes, and the microphone, which can recognize loud noises characterized by serious car crashes.
Apple has trained its algorithms on more than a million hours of actual driving and accident recording data, so it can accurately detect when an accident has occurred.
If the user is wearing an Apple Watch, this further improves accuracy.
When a serious accident is detected, the interface for calling emergency services will appear on the Apple Watch, because it is more likely to be closer to the user, while the call is made through the iPhone if it’s in range for the best possible connection.
The new iPhone 14s has a sensor with a high G-force accelerometer that detects when the user has been involved in a car accident, such as “side impact, rear collision and rollovers”.
He looks for signs of an accident, including rapid deceleration or a sudden stop.
If it detects a crash, the phone will display a warning for 10 seconds before starting a 10-second countdown accompanied by an audible alarm.
If a user does not silence the alarm during those 10 seconds, the phone will then dial 911, relaying a message and providing location details.
An alert will also be sent to anyone listed as an emergency contact.
The feature, called “collision detection”, only activates when you are traveling in a vehicle.
An Apple spokesperson said the crash detection algorithms have been validated using more than 1 million hours of crash data, real-world driving and crash test labs. collision.
He added that the feature is “extremely accurate in detecting severe crashes” and that the company has optimized it to get users help while minimizing false positives.
The spokesperson noted, however, that Apple would continue to improve the feature.
But in the meantime, iPhone users have reported issues with the new technology.
On September 17, Douglas Sonders said he was riding his motorcycle on the West Side Highway in New York when his iPhone 14 Pro flew off the handlebars.
He had assumed his phone was gone for good, so he and his friends went to the Apple Store to buy a new one.
Sonders was unaware at the time that his iPhone’s crash detection had triggered, alerting emergency services and sending automated text messages to his mother and girlfriend.
‘I was panicking. I was thinking the worst,” said Gabrielle Kennedy, Sonders’ girlfriend.
“My best friend died in a car accident,” she added. “It brought me back there.”
His mother even left him a voicemail saying, ‘Douglas, someone call me ASAP! Please let me know if you are well.
Similar incidents have been reported among users of the Joker roller coaster at Six Flags Great America
Meanwhile, at Six Flags Great America, Marcus Nguyen heard the alarm go off on his iPhone 14 Pro at the end of the Joker roller coaster.
“I was still strapped into the ride and couldn’t get into it,” he said. “Finally, I was able to get there before the countdown was over.”
Experts are now warning iPhone 14 users to leave their phone behind when going on roller coasters because when it slows down it can suddenly brake and trigger crash detection software.
Users can also disable the feature, which is enabled automatically on new phones.
But in some cases it turned out to be useful.
Police were alerted to the scene of a tragic car crash in Lincoln, Nebraska last week after an iPhone 14 belonging to one of the victims called 911. The six people at the inside the Honda Accord were killed in the crash.
Jonathan Koch, 22, was among the victims. All six were in their early 20s, but police have yet to share the names of the others who died.
Just last week, the new collision detection feature alerted police in Lincoln, Nebraska to a tragic shipwreck that killed all six young passengers in the vehicle.
Officers said the black Honda Accord they were driving in crashed into a tree, killing five men at the scene – while a 24-year-old woman was left in critical condition and later died at a nearby hospital.
Immediately after the crash, an iPhone 14 belonging to one of the passengers alerted emergency services to the scene.
The iPhone feature meant first responders were notified of the incident, although there were no other witnesses to what police described as “Lincoln’s worst accident in recent memory”.
The 22-year-old driver has not been named.
The other victims were a 21-year-old man, a 23-year-old and two 22-year-olds – including a man named Jonathan Koch.
It is unclear what caused the accident, but police said the group of friends were driving home at the time.
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