Pixel may lose Car crash detection exclusivity


A non-Pixel version is in the works, according to hidden code.

(Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Pixel-only crash detection feature might soon be available on more Android smartphones, according to a line of code in the most recent version of the Google Personal Safety app.
  • Code in the same software update suggests that other crisis warnings might also reach non-Pixel phones.
  • Google frequently introduces features like these on Pixel phones for long-term testing before gradually rolling them out to other Android phones.

Owners of Pixel phones are aware that the crash detection feature is one of the best hidden features on their device. According to code uncovered in the most recent Google personal safety app, version 2022.05.25, that feature as well as Google crisis notifications may soon be available on non-Pixel Android-powered phones.

Crash detection, when activated(opens in new tab), uses a number of ultra-low power sensors to identify sounds and fast movement to determine whether a device has been in a crash. If the Pixel notices a vehicle collision, an alarm will sound and it will inquire as to whether you require assistance. The Pixel will then make an attempt to contact emergency response personnel on your behalf if you don’t reply.


Additionally, owners of Pixel phones can receive alerts from the personal safety app when calamities like floods or earthquakes are due to strike their region or if a wildfire or hurricane is imminent. According to Esper technical editor Mishaal Rahman, all of these functions, as well as additional ones, may soon be available on excellent Android phones(opens in new tab).

Crash detection is a function that Google initially released back in March 2020(opens in new tab) and has only ever made available on Pixel-branded smartphones up to this point. The fact that Google purposely included sensors on Pixel phones to help determine the phone’s position, specific activities observed by motion sensors, and adjacent sounds without draining the battery is one factor contributing to this exclusivity.

In order to implement both automobile collision detection and crisis alerts on non-Pixel phones, it appears that Google will be collaborating with Android manufacturers through a new Partner Technology Manager role that was hired back in March(opens in new tab). There is currently no information available on whether phones will support the feature or when such an integration would take place because this is just a secret line of code.


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