Recently Apple launched the iPhone 14 and a new generation of Apple Watches.

The models include a feature called Automatic Crash Detection, which Apple claims will be able to recognise when you've been in a serious car crash and will alert emergency services. Other manufacturers will likely follow suit and new vehicles are now starting to come out with similar features.

The iPhone alerts the user to the "detected crash" and if the user does not respond to their phone within a short timeframe, it dials the emergency services number and plays a recorded message while keeping the phone line open for call takers to determine what is going on in the background.

Apple states the crash detection feature is designed to detect "severe" crashes such as front, side, and rear impact, as well as vehicle rollovers. The message relayed to emergency services would be similar to this:

"The owner of this iPhone has been in a severe car crash and is not responding to their phone. The emergency location is Latitude: xx Longitude: xx with an estimated search radius of x metres. This message will repeat in five seconds."

ComCen would like to alert people to the fact that, while this feature may work properly in a serious crash, it is not because the phone knows that there has been one. The phone works by detecting a sudden deceleration after the GPS has recognised the phone was travelling at speed. This deceleration could be for any number of reasons.

In the first instance these calls would normally go to the NZ Police Communication Centre who will investigate the authenticity of the call before requesting any assistance of other emergency services. However, ComCen advises operational personnel that there will be times where Police ask us to respond and investigate.

More information can be found at: link)

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