San Francisco: iPhone users in the USA who call 911 will be able to automatically and securely share their location data with first emergency responders, beginning later this year with iOS 12. This new location-sharing would allow 911 centers to find callers location faster and with much greater accuracy than they can under the current system - and finally brings US users up to speed with those in Europe.
But in recent years, about 80 percent of the 240 million 911 calls made annually have from mobile devices.
RapidSOS's system will deliver the emergency location data of iOS users by integrating with many 911 centres' existing software.
Those over on Google's Android have had access to the company's Emergency Location Service (ELS) feature since the release of its Ice Cream Sandwich update back in 2012.
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But if you call 911 from that same mobile phone, emergency responders will only have a vague sense of where to send an ambulance, fire truck, or police auto.
Apple, along with startup company RapidSOS, will be able to calculate a caller's location based on data collected from Wi-Fi access points, nearby cell towers and Global Positioning System. This is a new feature in iOS 12, which is coming later this fall.
Besides upgrading to iOS 12, users won't need to do anything to use the feature. How do you feel about automatically sharing your location data with emergency services? It states that carriers must "locate callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021".