Google Pixel’s Car Crash Detection feature, launched alongside the Pixel and later made available for the Pixel 3 and subsequent Pixel models, instantly became a highly praised addition to the Personal Safety app. As you may be aware, Google Pixel phones can tell when a car crash has happened by using their location, motion sensors, and the sound around them. When it detects a collision, it makes a loud noise and asks the user if they need help. If you don’t answer, it automatically calls 911 and tells them where your phone is so assistance can be sent your way. Unfortunately, this feature has only been available as a Pixel-exclusive until now.
As reported by XDA Developers, Google recently updated the Personal Safety app for Pixel devices to version 2022.05.25. A teardown of this build has revealed new strings that clearly mention “nonpixel” in their name, implying that the Pixel-exclusive Car Crash Detection feature may be coming to other Android phones soon. This was discovered by Esper’s @MishaalRahman, who tweeted a thorough thread on his conclusion.
Granted, this isn’t something that Google has confirmed or made public, but considering Mishaal Rahman’s track record of pouring through code and correctly reporting on these things, I have no doubt this will transpire. I think there shouldn’t be any reason for this feature to be Pixel-only when it could save lives, especially if the hardware can support it. It’s important to note, however, that, as Rahman explained, “the feature relies on a Context Hub Runtime Environment (CHRE) nanoapp, which OEMs have to compile, sign, and integrate into their software releases,” so even with Google making it available for all, doesn’t mean that all Android phones will get it, or get it all at once. The ball will eventually remain on the OEM’s court.
Nevertheless, the rumors that even Apple is thinking of incorporating a feature like this on their iPhones and Watches, tells me that this is something most OEMs will want and will definitely leverage when given the opportunity to. I think this should be the case for any feature that could save lives, like AFib detection on Fitbit watches and Emergency SOS on Pixels, and that access to these should not be manufacturer exclusive.