Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident, but if you are and you happen to be carrying a Pixel 4 around with you, from today it’ll be able to detect the crash and inform the authorities for you.
Crash detection for Pixel 4 isn’t technically a new feature, being part of the personal safety app suite that Google rolled out to US users when its flagship phone launched, but from Tuesday ” once you’ve updated ” it should also work with Australia’s triple-0 services, as well as 999 emergency services in the UK.
There are some limitations to the Pixel 4’s ability to detect if you’ve been in an accident, because it’s fundamentally using the inbuilt sensors to detect a sudden change in momentum, as well as straight up GPS tracking to match against the idea that you might just have been in a car at the time your movement suddenly took a very bad wrong turn. Google notes that:
“Car crash detection may not detect all accidents. High-impact activities may trigger calls to emergency services. This feature is dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas.”
Car Crash detection has to be switched on even once you do have an updated Pixel 4 phone, and you’ll need to have an active SIM card in your phone as well to determine that you’re in a supported country.
Google’s move comes as the nation’s emergency services also shift to supporting Automatic Mobile Location (AML) services. Unlike the Pixel 4’s crash detection, AML works across all Android phones newer than Android 2.3.7 (which is for practical purposes going to be most of them) and can’t be deactivated at all.
That does raise the possibility that from June, Pixel 4 owners in crashes might end up alerting the authorities twice about their accident location.
The Pixel 4 update isn’t just about helping you out when your vehicle journey goes wrong. Google’s also added new Motion Sense gestures for music playback control, allowing you to pause your music playback with a hand above your Pixel 4/4XL phone.
There’s also support for new AR effects if you’re using Google Duo for video calls, depth effects from the Pixel 4’s single front selfie camera, quick card access via the power button, new emojis and changes to the phone’s themes and brightness settings.
The Pixel 4 update is rolling out from today in Australia; I’ve already been able to trigger it on Australian stock of the phone through Settings>System>System Update, although it’s possible carrier versions of the phone may have to wait a little longer to see it properly.