Google tests automatic car crash detection for the Pixels on Android Q

Google tests automatic car crash detection for the Pixels on Android Q

Google I/O 2019 is the current talk of the town, as everyone looks to dive deeper into all the announcements that Google made across its product and service portfolio. At the event, we got introduced to Android Q Beta 3 with changes and features like dark mode, new navigation gestures, improvements to Digital Wellbeing, notification channel suggestions, Project Mainline for quicker security updates, Bubbles, Live Caption, and so much more. These announcements just scratch the surface, as more interesting tidbits are to be found within the new resources that Google has revealed at the event. For instance, Google is now testing a car crash detection functionality for its Pixel devices.


An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.

Android Q Beta 3 features a new Google app called “Safety Hub” with the package name The functionality from this app is Pixel-exclusive, as is made evident with the Manifest declaration:

<uses-feature android:name="" android:required="true"/>

Strings present within the app hint that Google is working on a feature that will detect when you are in a car crash:

<string name="car_crash_alert_icon_description">Car crash icon</string>\n<string name="car_crash_detection_dogfood_title_text">Car Crash Detection Dogfood</string>\n<string name="car_crash_dogfood_app_name">Car Crash Dogfood</string>\n<string name="car_crash_permission_preference_title">@string/car_crash_permissions_menu_item_text</string>\n<string name="car_crash_permissions_menu_item_text">Car Crash Dogfood Permissions</string>\n<string name="dogfood_welcome_text">\u0009Welcome to the car crash detection dogfood. In order to properly use this feature, please enable the following permissions. Once you enable them, this dogfood will automatically launch an alert activity when the device detects you are in a car crash.</string>

There are two graphic assets also included within the app for this feature:

While the strings hint towards automatic detection of a car crash, it is unclear how exactly such detection would be achieved. Google could resort to using data from the accelerometer and the microphone, but even this may not be fool-proof with its detection. The strings also do not reveal what happens once a crash is detected — we’re guessing the app could alert first responders or the listed emergency contacts on the phone. Hopefully, future Q Betas reveal more information on how this app would work and what it would do.

Thanks to XDA’s Editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman for finding this.

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

A journalist at XDA-Developers and the current Editor in Chief, I have been writing for XDA since 2015, despite being a qualified business-litigation lawyer. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news and tutorials, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected] And my Twitter is @aamirsidd94.

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