How Google Pixel’s Car Crash Detection feature saved a man’s life

Google Pixel 4 XL turned out to be a friend in need for its user who was involved in an accident with no nearby help available. The Car Crash Detection on the Pixel device came to its user’s rescue who was trapped in heavy machinery unconscious. The accident took place three months ago and its account was shared on Reddit by Chuck Walker aka u/postnospam.

Walker was not involved in a car accident per se, but he was in a Bobcat loader (JCB) which “rolled off an embankment and ended upside down in a ravine”. His cries for help were in vain as the accident happened deep into his private property with no one around. Due to the accident, he had suffered seven broken ribs and four thoracic vertebrae rendering him immobile.

His phone was out of sight after the accident but with Car Crash Detection enabled, it called 911 on its own. He was unconscious for approximately eight minutes but when he woke up he heard a voice in one of his earbuds which managed to stay in place despite the fall. Walker said that had it not been for the Car Crash Detection feature, he would have remained helpless for a long time.

Meanwhile Dave Burke, VP Engineering for Android at Google, also retweeted the story around the feature and explained with an image exactly how they trained Pixel phones to get so good at car crash detection. The photo has a picture of a dummy driver in a car with around 20 Pixel phones in all directions to train the machine learning models.

How to enable Car Crash Detection feature

The feature was originally introduced with the launch of Pixel 4, but was later made available for Pixel 3 as well. It can be turned on in the Pixel Safety settings. This feature requires access to your location and microphone. In addition, the device also sets you to choose emergency contacts who will be alerted when the phone makes a 911 call (number depending on the area).

The Pixel device detects a car accident using motion sensors and ambient audio. Then, it vibrates and sounds an alarm at maximum volume asking the user if you need help. If the user does not answer, the phone automatically calls the police or rescue service in your area.

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