Apple Crash Detection false positives

Released: October 2022

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Apple's iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 watches feature a new 'Crash detection' feature that automatically calls 911 in the US and Canada when the devices detect a sudden stop that indicates the user has been involved in a car, SUV, or van crash.

The system quickly proved useful in some instances, though reports in the Wall Street Journal and other publications of false crashes triggered by people riding rollercoasters suggest it was not working as it should.

Shortly afterwards, ski resort emergency despatch centres across the US and Canada were overwhelmed by hundreds of automated crash notifications calls, none of which turned out to be an emergency. 

The calls diverted resources away from real emergencies, resulting in a loss of productivity. If the skier in question failed to answer a return call, ski patrollers were sent to check the location of the automated call. 

Operator: Apple
Developer: Apple
Country: Apple
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Detect vehicle crashes
Technology: Motion sensor algorithm; Gyroscope: Accelerometer; GPS; Barometer
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Safety
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Marketing