Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location. Though 80% of emergency calls come from mobile phones, according to Apple, landline-based infrastructure can make it hard for 911 centers to quickly identify a caller's location.
Apple's HELO tech doesn't share your exact location - instead, it estimates your location by using your cell tower's data, as well as other sources like Global Positioning System and WiFi Acess Points which can be used by 911 responders.
iPhones will soon automatically share your location with first responders when you call 911, thanks to a new partnership between Apple and startup RapidSOS.
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the new service is the "best available technology" and will "help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance".
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This data will only be available to the 911 center responding to the call; it can not be used for any non-emergency objective, Apple said.
Apple noted today an upcoming FCC requirement that tasks carriers with being able to locate subscribers within 50 meters 80% of the time by 2021, and boasts that this pairing of HELO and RapidSOS is capable of exceeding those requirements today.
Apple is partnering with the firm RapidSOS on the iOS 12 feature, using its IP-based "data pipeline" to securely share HELO location data with 911 centers.
Apple is trying to solve a potentially unsafe emergency response infrastructure problem.
As Apple revealed at WWDC 2018, iOS 12 is getting a lot of handy new features, but one in particular could be a real life saver. RapidSOS's system will increase the precision considerably, the companies said.