“Car crash detection may not detect all accidents,” Google states on the app’s help page. “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.”
Chuck Walker wrote about his brush with death on Reddit under his u/postnospam alias. He wasn’t in a car at the time but was in a bobcat on his farm in Missouri, USA, that rolled down an embankment into a ravine. He does not remember how the accident happened, but when he came to he was “in horrible pain, struggling to breathe”.
He yelled for help, knowing it was futile because the accident happened “deep on my property and no one expected me back for a few hours. My phone was thrown out of site [sic] somewhere in the cab and I didn’t have “Hey Google” enabled.”
As it turns out, help was already on the way. “I heard a voice coming from the one earbud that managed to stay in place. To my surprise, it was an emergency dispatcher! He told me that help was on the way and they had already contacted my wife. Within a few minutes, I heard the welcome wailing of a parade of rescue equipment.
“The fire station is at minimum 11 minutes from our property, so I’m assuming I was unconscious for at least 8 minutes while Google put our local emergency services into action.”
Chuck ended up with seven broken ribs and four thoracic vertebrae but is still alive to tell the tale.
Google’s Personal Safety app is currently only available on Pixel phones, and the company has not revealed plans to make it available to other Android phones.