After the presentation of the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models together with the new Apple Watch, where certain attention was paid to the Crash Detection function (automatic detection of getting into a road accident), the question of false positives arose. Some journalists and bloggers tested the feature themselves and even under these conditions the feature did not work with 100% collision response.

At that time, it seemed that the conditions for the operation of the function on smartphones and “smart” watches were designed specifically for cars. But there was an exception to the rule.

According to the WSJ, there are already several cases of false calls from new gadgets, whose owners spent time in amusement parks and rode roller coasters (ironically enough, not on so-called bumper cars – electric cars on which you can bump into other participants for fun).

In American parks, there have already been several cases of false calls to traffic accidents that did not actually occur. This happened both after a regular ride and after the owners accidentally lost their smartphones while riding the attraction.

The owner of this iPhone was involved in a serious car accident and is not answering the phone.

Recordings of such calls were also provided to journalists. When the gadget detects an accident, it gives the owner 10 seconds instead of an automatic call, which is accompanied by a loud signal. If there is no corresponding reaction, it makes a call to external services and informs about the incident. In addition, the microphones let the surrounding sounds into the conversation (you can listen to the recording of the conversation here). If an additional contact is set in the system for such a case, the iPhone will also notify them of the problem.

On the one hand, the case is relatively funny, and it is very easy to explain, because some such attractions gain considerable speed (which is enough to give the gadget the deceptive impression that it is in a car), and in some places can drop it very sharply (which is already enough for crash detection). The smartphone also takes into account the loud sounds around, which once again confuses the algorithms.

But on the other hand, it can create unnecessary problems for the already busy response services, which later may not have time to arrive on time at the scene of a real accident, where there is a real threat to the lives of other people. To this can be added the nervous state of relatives or friends, whom the system could also notify about the incident, when in fact the person was just having fun on the roller coasters.

Apple already knows about such situations, so with future updates the roller coaster should be taken into account by the algorithms.

Currently, in order to prevent false activation, the publication advises to use Flight mode before entering the attraction. 

Of course, the function can also be turned off, because it is active by default on new devices. But then you should not forget to turn it on, because in addition to false alarms, there are already cases when smartphones really responded to real accidents.

WSJ also describes another case — a fall from a motorcycle. On September 17, Douglas Sonders fell from a motorcycle on the outskirts of Manhattan. His iPhone 14 Pro Max flew away and got lost. Douglas never found the smartphone and went with a friend to get a new one. In the meantime, the lost gadget managed to notify his girlfriend and mother about the problem, which really scared them (his girlfriend, moreover, already had the experience of losing a friend in a car accident). Probably, the emergency services also received a notification about the accident.