Tech

IOS 12 Will Share Precise Location Data For 911 Calls

IOS 12 Will Share Precise Location Data For 911 Calls

The RapidSOS solution will benefit from the same underlying location solution, which Apple calls HELO and says uses cell towers, GPS, and Wi-Fi hardware to estimate the user's address.

"Communities rely on 911 centres in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal", Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a news release. The feature, which enhances Apple's Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) system, will automatically share your location with emergency responders, so they know exactly where to find you.

Apple is trying to solve a potentially unsafe emergency response infrastructure problem.

The firm announced that it is partnering up with NY startup RapidSOS to send location data from an iPhone to a "clearinghouse" accessible to emergency calling centers.

The new addition will see iPhones meet an FCC rule that requires carriers to locate callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021.

AT&T said in a statement Monday, "We are exceeding the FCC's requirements and working as an industry to implement improvements in 911 location accuracy for all our customers".

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Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location. Google's Emergency Location Service outfits Android devices (with operating systems as old as 4.0) with similar capabilities. The new system will certainly come in incredibly handy in emergency situations, and here's to hoping Apple will eventually be able to bring it to other countries.

Why it matters: This partnership will help update USA emergency response systems which are still rooted in the landline age.

RapidSOS's technology will integrate with existing software already used by many 911 centers. Apple said its location services can exceed that now, even in dense urban environments.

'This is going to save a lot of lives, ' said Wheeler, now a visiting professor at Harvard University.

Starting this fall, if you have Apple's iOS 12 on your iPhone and you make a 911 call, your chances of getting help are set to improve.