Joanna Stern Tests Apple’s Car Crash Detection

Joanna Stern, at The Wall Street Journal:

The key word is “severe.” In a video explaining the feature, Apple uses the word seven times. So I wanted to know, what is a severe crash? And where’s the line between severe and not-severe?

I crashed some cars to find out. Well, I didn’t crash them. Michael Barabe, a demolition-derby champion from Monroe, Mich., did. As you’ll see in my latest video, after failing to trigger the feature with bumper cars, my video producer Kenny Wassus and I found a way to bump real cars. (Safely, of course.)

Two wrecked cars and four deployed air bags later, we got Apple’s new marketing gem to work. But in order to trigger consistently and reliably, the system in both the phone and watch needs a lot of sensor data and other signals. And about that “s” word: From our tests, there appears to be a “severe” gray area between harmless crashes and deadly ones.

As soon as Apple announced this feature, I knew that Joanna Stern would do her best to test this. Like, within an hour of the keynote ending, I started pestering her that she should get the WSJ to foot the bill (of course) but let me drive the crash test car for her inevitable video. I was more than half serious.

Now that I see the footage ... I’m good, I’m really good, just watching the footage from my desk. Wow.

Friday, 30 September 2022