Rollercoaster repeatedly triggers iPhone 14 Crash Detection

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2022
The Crash Detection feature of the iPhone 14 is causing problems for a theme park near Cincinnati, with repeated false-positives from iPhones on rides leading to multiple calls to emergency services.

A rollercoaster [Pixabay]
A rollercoaster [Pixabay]


Apple's latest iPhone and Apple Watch safety feature, Crash Detection, uses onboard sensors and mountains of crash data to detect whether or not it is involved with a car accident. Despite the training of the system, it seems that rollercoasters could be its weakness.

The Warren County Communications Center has been the recipient of multiple iPhone crash-detection calls, all since the iPhone 14 went on sale in September. According to the center, a number of them were caused by passengers of rollercoasters at the King Island amusement park near Cincinnati.

Multiple recordings of iPhone-based detection calls were provided to the Wall Street Journal by the center, prompted by the devices misinterpreting ride movements and noise as collisions. The theme park isn't the only one with the problem, as alerts were also raised a few times at Six Flags Great America near Chicago.

While the iPhone and Apple Watch does offer a ten-second warning before placing the call to emergency services, this may not be cancellable in time. The park visitor may not notice if the ride is still in motion, or the iPhone could be stowed away out of view for safety, and not heard over screams.

An Apple spokesperson told the report the technology provides peace of mind, and work will continue to improve it.

False positives happen occasionally in everyday life, and are arguably better than not being triggered at all. But in the case of rollercoasters, such mistakes could be avoided by leaving devices with Collision Detection-style features in a locker or with someone who isn't going on the ride for safekeeping.

Independent testing has offered mixed results when it comes to actually detecting a crash, with some having more success than others.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    M68000M68000 Posts: 534member
    Going to ask a dumb question since I don’t own a 14 series phone.  Can this feature be shut off?
    grandact73watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    M68000M68000 Posts: 534member
    So,  abrupt changes in velocity are what can trigger this?  What about times people have to stop very quickly or change direction while driving but there is no crash?  This thing will be calling for help?
    edited October 2022 grandact73
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Looks like a software / calibration problem, normally a crash has a much higher g-force than rollercoasters are allowed to produce ...
    edited October 2022 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    M68000 said:
    Going to ask a dumb question since I don’t own a 14 series phone.  Can this feature be shut off?
    Yes, its easy to switch the feature off in Settings > Emergency SOS > Toggle for "Call After Severe Crash"
    M68000 said:
    So,  abrupt changes in velocity are what can trigger this?  What about times people have to stop very quickly or change direction while driving but there is no crash?  This thing will be calling for help?
    No, near crashes will not trigger it. There are youtube videos of people trying to get it to activate by literally crashing cars together and many of them had an extremely difficult time getting it to activate, although some were successful. The video by Luke Miani comes to mind if you want to see them with multiple iphones/apple watches do a big crash derby with several cars and dozens of impacts. Never once did they get it to activate.
    doozydozengrandact73watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,511member
    This should (but won’t) give people pause about the forces they subject themselves to on some  roller coasters. 

    I’ve found roller coasters to be less and less fun the more I’ve learned about engineering, biology, and the foibles of the people who design, maintain and operate those things. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,287member
    Apple can fix it by disabling it at amusement parks. After all, no one is driving at amusement parks. 
    zeus423watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Apple should just make an easy toggle where you can toggle off the feature if you go to a theme park 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Apple should just make an easy toggle where you can toggle off the feature if you go to a theme park 
    They have theater mode on the Apple Watch when you go to the movies.
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    “Apple responded by saying it’s committed to fix the problem and has promised to build several rollercoasters at Apple Park for product testing purposes.”
    appleinsideruserdewmeFileMakerFellerchadbagiGlowEarthdoozydozen
  • Reply 10 of 20
    Bring back Clippy! “It looks like you’re riding a rollercoaster, would you like me to recommend a gentler ride?”
    FileMakerFellerdoozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,522member
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Looks like a software / calibration problem, normally a crash has a much higher g-force than rollercoasters are allowed to produce ...
    And IMHO that's exactly what it is. After several years of Google offering the same crash detection feature Apple rolled out this year there's no evidence of roller-coasters triggering it.  Apple will figure it out. 
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 12 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,457member
    AppleZulu said:
    This should (but won’t) give people pause about the forces they subject themselves to on some  roller coasters. 

    I’ve found roller coasters to be less and less fun the more I’ve learned about engineering, biology, and the foibles of the people who design, maintain and operate those things. 
    LOL this is quite laughable! 
    grandact73
  • Reply 13 of 20
    JP234JP234 Posts: 827member
    Crash Detection alerts are Apple's way of telling you, "stay off the roller coaster of death!" Haven't you seen "Final Destination 3?"
    Thanks Apple!

    Kinda like, I dunno, watching "Shark Week," and wondering why don't they just STAY OUTTA THE WATER???!!!
    mike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    JP234 said:
    Crash Detection alerts are Apple's way of telling you, "stay off the roller coaster of death!" Haven't you seen "Final Destination 3?"
    Thanks Apple!

    Kinda like, I dunno, watching "Shark Week," and wondering why don't they just STAY OUTTA THE WATER???!!!
    Because of Sharknado. Duh. :wink:
    JP234watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,410member
    G-forces that look like a crash can happen for shock.   A pothole can look like a crash to a sensor except it’s in the vertical direction and your car’s sensors know this.  

    Apple’s problem is it’s hard to know which way is up for a phone because 1g in the negative z-direction is easily overcome on a rollercoaster.   

    Their algorithm to detection needs adjustment.  

    To disable, use airplane mode on the rollercoaster.   Siri can do this.  Too bad there isn’t a 5 minute timer.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 967member
    I'm a bit surprised that the iPhone would trigger on, say, a smooth ride. The g-forces are often continuously applied over a prolonged period in a smooth rollercoaster, whereas a crash would see high values of first, second (and third and fourth derivatives) of acceleration (jerk, snap, crackle, pop). Apple might be missing fine-enough time measures to accurately measure the changes in acceleration needed. 
    appleinsiderusergrandact73watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,136member
    eriamjh said:
    G-forces that look like a crash can happen for shock.   A pothole can look like a crash to a sensor except it’s in the vertical direction and your car’s sensors know this.  

    Apple’s problem is it’s hard to know which way is up for a phone because 1g in the negative z-direction is easily overcome on a rollercoaster.   

    Their algorithm to detection needs adjustment.  

    To disable, use airplane mode on the rollercoaster.   Siri can do this.  Too bad there isn’t a 5 minute timer.  

    In a real crash, a 5-minute timer could make the difference between life and death. This is really a non-issue. For the fraction of a % of the population that is on a roller coaster that would trigger crash detection, they should simply turn it off when they walk in the gates. Takes all of 5 seconds.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,522member
    mike1 said:
    eriamjh said:
    G-forces that look like a crash can happen for shock.   A pothole can look like a crash to a sensor except it’s in the vertical direction and your car’s sensors know this.  

    Apple’s problem is it’s hard to know which way is up for a phone because 1g in the negative z-direction is easily overcome on a rollercoaster.   

    Their algorithm to detection needs adjustment.  

    To disable, use airplane mode on the rollercoaster.   Siri can do this.  Too bad there isn’t a 5 minute timer.  

    In a real crash, a 5-minute timer could make the difference between life and death. This is really a non-issue. For the fraction of a % of the population that is on a roller coaster that would trigger crash detection, they should simply turn it off when they walk in the gates. Takes all of 5 seconds.
    LOL! Hardly a great plan since I routinely forget to turn my ringer back on after leaving a restaurant, or un-silencing after a meeting. I've also forgotten to silence my phone before one. Folks remembering to turn-off crash detection? Not likely. 

    All that said it's not a feature I need to worry about on my 11 anyway. Bring on the coasters!
    edited October 2022 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 20
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,821member
    mike1 said:
    eriamjh said:
    G-forces that look like a crash can happen for shock.   A pothole can look like a crash to a sensor except it’s in the vertical direction and your car’s sensors know this.  

    Apple’s problem is it’s hard to know which way is up for a phone because 1g in the negative z-direction is easily overcome on a rollercoaster.   

    Their algorithm to detection needs adjustment.  

    To disable, use airplane mode on the rollercoaster.   Siri can do this.  Too bad there isn’t a 5 minute timer.  

    In a real crash, a 5-minute timer could make the difference between life and death. This is really a non-issue. For the fraction of a % of the population that is on a roller coaster that would trigger crash detection, they should simply turn it off when they walk in the gates. Takes all of 5 seconds.
    He didn’t say 5 minute timer to report the crash or cancel. He said a 5 minute time for siri putting the phone into airplane mode or disabling the detection. Ie Siri disables but it auto enables after 5 min. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    JP234JP234 Posts: 827member
    JP234 said:
    Crash Detection alerts are Apple's way of telling you, "stay off the roller coaster of death!" Haven't you seen "Final Destination 3?"
    Thanks Apple!

    Kinda like, I dunno, watching "Shark Week," and wondering why don't they just STAY OUTTA THE WATER???!!!
    Because of Sharknado. Duh. :wink:

    🤣

    edited October 2022
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