Earlier this week, multiple false alerts sent to emergency services via Apple’s new Crash Detection feature caused time-consuming and expensive search-and-rescue operations. Now, rescue teams are asking Apple to “tweak” the tech.
The new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra offer new Crash Detection safety features to detect severe car crashes like front-impact, side-impact, and rear-end collisions, and rollovers and contact emergency service automatically for unresponsive users.
Frustrated by Crash Detection false alerts, Search and Rescue teams call on Apple to improve the tech
The Globe and Mail reports that since past Sunday, the Golden and District Search and Rescue teams have been looking for Apple users whose devices sent out false Crash Detection alerts in the British Columbia backcountry.
An iPhone 14 bouncing in the glove box of a snowmobile, and in pockets of Skiers and horse riders were triggering false emergency calls which resulted in expensive search and rescue efforts.
“We’ve been waiting for the Apple problem,” Kyle Hale, the manager of Golden and District Search and Rescue (GADSAR), said in an interview Tuesday. “We kind of anticipated [Sunday’s call] being a false activation, but we had to resource it, so we got in a helicopter and flew 40 minutes out into the middle of nowhere.”
Mr. Hale estimated that the search cost $10,000. The bill for the helicopter goes to the province. GADSAR has an annual budget of about $300,000 and 35 volunteers.
As useful as the new feature is for users’ safety, it is also draining energy and resources from the emergency service. A senior manager of B.C. Search and Rescue Association, Dwight Yochim has added Crash Detection to his list of concerns with Apple. His organization is already in contact with the tech giant over fall detection capability. He said:
“I don’t think they accounted for the people in British Columbia who love the outdoors and go into the backwoods and literally crash through the backwoods, whether it is on mountain bikes, whether it is on skis,” Mr. Yochim said. “It clearly doesn’t take a whole lot to trigger it.”