Google is no stranger to Pixel-exclusive features, such as Night Sight, unlimited original quality photo backups, and more. It looks like the company might have one more exclusive feature in the works though.
XDA-Developers has found references to car crash detection functionality in the Android Q Beta 3 Safety Hub app. One string notes that the function will “automatically launch an alert activity when the device detects you are in a car crash.”
XDA also found a string in the app that suggests the feature is exclusive to Pixels. So the hundreds of millions of people using third-party Android phones might miss out on this functionality.
Just how could the Safety Hub app detect a car crash? It’s possible the feature will harness GPS data to determine whether you’re in a car, the accelerometer to detect a sudden or violent stop, and a microphone to listen for the sound of the crash itself. These capabilities would likely be tied together with Google’s machine learning technology. After all, the likes of Intel and other entities have already experimented with neural networks to detect car crashes.
Google will also need to work hard to ensure that false positives are kept to a minimum — who needs the feature if it mistakes a falling phone for a crash?
The outlet speculates that the car crash detection mode could alert emergency services or designated contacts. And with roughly 1.35 million people killed annually as a result of road crashes according to the World Health Organization, prompt assistance could make a big difference.