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Apples two big new safety features, explained

Apple held its annual iPhone extravaganza today, and on the list of debut of gadgets just like the iPhone 14 and the chunky, extreme-sports-focused Apple Watch Ultra are two new services centered on safety. One of these, motor vehicle accident detection, involves both gadgets, and another, enabling emergency satellite communication, is iPhone-specific.

Heres a glance at what things to expect from both new services.

Motor vehicle accident detection

Apple has previously rolled out two features linked with its wearable device that detect if youve taken a spill: a kind of everyday fall-detection (in 2018) and, this past year, a workout-focused version of exactly the same.

A fresh service, announced today, aims to note that youve experienced a vehicle accident and then demand help.

Ron Huang, the companys vice president for sensing and connectivity, said that the feature employs new sensors in the Apple Watch in addition to machine learning. As the companys watches curently have gyroscopes and accelerometers inside them, Huang said that new versions of the sensors help detect the forces within a vehicle accident. That new accelerometer, he said, can notice just as much as 256 Gs of acceleration, and can detect the extreme impacts of a collision.

For context, one Gthat means gravityis what you are feeling pulling you along towards the planet earth at any given moment, and fighter pilots endure just as much as nine or even more Gs while conducting maneuvers where they bank hard or accelerate quickly. In a vehicle accident, the Gs the watch are detecting likely stem from forces involved with actions just like the rapid stop.

[Related: A fresh AT&T update will make 911 calls far better]

Huang also said that the onboard barometer, microphone, and GPS chip help with the detection process aswell, and that machine learning helped tie everything together. The barometer is involved to measure pressure-related changes because of an airbags deployment, a promo video through the event explained.

The companys latest phones also offer the same service, said Kaiann Drance, the companys vice president for iPhone product marketing, and therefore you certainly do not need to buy the most recent watch to obtain motor vehicle accident detection.

The announcement comes at a grim time for road safety in the usa, as almost 43,000 people died in automobile accidents in 2021, a rise greater than 10 percent on the year before. (Pedestrians are a particularly vulnerable group.) But needless to say, difficult problems like national road safety are unlikely to be solved with something similar to a gadget.

Satellite communications

The next safety feature the business announced is baked in to the new iPhones specifically, and involves giving someone as an injured mountaineer a method to require help via satellite if they are out of cell service range.

Apple is calling the brand new feature Emergency SOS via Satellite, also it functions by instructing the lost hiker to point their phone at a a long way away, quick-moving communications satellite. To create this feature work, engineers had to tackle the bandwidth challenges that include this type of communication.

For connecting to these satellites, you have to be outside, with an obvious view of the sky, said Ashley Williams, the companys manager for satellite modeling and simulation. And the bandwidth is indeed limited that even sending a text is really a technical challenge. (So, no Netflix via sat.)

[Related: What its prefer to rescue someone at sea from the Coast Guard helicopter]

Other factors that allow this whole system to work certainly are a custom short text compression algorithm, Williams said, in addition to a specific screen interface for reporting what the thing is, like by hitting the Lost or Trapped option. Assisting to handle any cries for help is a ground network that also contains relay centers staffed with experienced emergency specialists prepared to get your text and call a crisis service provider in your stead, she said, which are participating if the emergency center cannot cope with a text exchange alone.

The satellite communication service won’t include any extra costfor the initial two years once you purchase an iPhone 14. From then on, the skys the limit. The SOS service debuts in November, only in Canada and america.

Watch the complete event, below.

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