A Florida woman ended up in jail thanks to her own car.

Ford’s Sync technology is a lifesaver.  And, it appears, a good citizen.

If you have paired your phone via Bluetooth to your Sync-equipped Ford, then in the event of an accident the car will send a message to 000 including your coordinates taken from the car’s satnav system, then leave the phone line open for further communication. 

The accident has to be severe enough to trigger an airbag or shut off the fuel pump, which makes it a pretty decent crash, not just a simple nose-to-tail.  Very often people are upset when no or few airbags go off in minor bingles, but that’s by design – the car is clever enough to figure out what airbags need to be deployed based on the crash impact, side of impact, and even who is sitting in which seats.

Anyway, this woman’s crash was enough to trigger Sync to make an emergency services call – that’s 911 in the USA, but did you know that wherever you are in the world dialling 112 from a mobile will get you the local emergency services?  True.  What’s not true is that if your phone can’t get network reception it’ll use satellites.  That’s just a myth. The phone will however use whatever network it can connect to for an emergency services call regardless of whether you have a contract on that network.

So the story is that one Cathy Berstein, 57 years of age, crashed into a truck then for good measure a van too.  She ran away, but her car made a record of the crash data, then contacted the police who turned up, found Bernstein, took her to hospital and then to jail for leaving the scene of an accident, then lying about it.  Lots of cars collect crash data, but that’s fine because the carmakers say they’ll only release it if asked very very nicely by law enforcement agencies, and they’d never use it against the owners.

In future expect more of this, and detailed information about precisely what you were doing leading up to, during and after any misdemeanours collected from your car and smartphone which together know you better than you know yourself.  But it’s worth it…because technologies like Sync could very easily save lives either by alerting the emergency services to a crash they’d never otherwise know about, or helping them get there a lot quicker. 

Source: ABC 7 Eyewitness News


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