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A growing selection of mobile apps, smartphones, cameras, and other devices can detect if you’ve been in a car crash and then alert the authorities, loved ones, and your insurance agent.
Android Q’s car crash-detecting feature could one day be built directly into all Android phones. Other companies are doing something similar. Pioneer Electronics has rDrive, a device you plug into your car that shares your location and the level of impact during a crash.
On Tuesday, Volvo announced its Car Accident Advisor mobile app. After a crash, it will bring up your emergency contacts and a checklist to help you document the accident, and will connect you to repair and insurance professionals.
After a crash, drivers might be injured, or at the very least frazzled — this is supposed to help guide them through the aftermath in systemic, careful way.
Other apps want to do the same thing. Jeffrey Blecher, chief strategy officer at Agero, explained that its car app, Driver360, is like “OnStar in your pocket.” Blecher said the app “is designed in a way that you don’t have to interact with it” until you get into a crash, and then it’s right there.
During a demo with Owlcam‘s CEO Andy Hodge, I saw how a 4G LTE-connected dash camera can be more than a security tool. In a crash, it can contact emergency assistance, and send video of the crash to your phone to show to authorities and insurance companies.
Since December, Owlcam has offered 911 assistance for $79 per year. The company says thousands of people have used the service. But starting Tuesday, the company is including the 911 feature for one year in its regular package for $349, which will be available in 550 nationwide Best Buy stores this month.
Uber introduced a crash detection feature to its ride-hailing app last year. Ride Check pulls up the Safety Toolkit for riders and drivers if it seems like you’ve been in a crash or because of unusual driving behavior. You can then get in touch with 911 or the Uber safety team — all through the app. A spokesperson said the feature is rolling out across the country now.