This Week in Technology: Google, San Francisco, and More


Google is Testing Automatic Car Crash Detection

Google offers quite a few exclusive features on its Pixel phone, including Night Sight and unlimited photo backups. Now, they’re working on a new feature that will may help detect a car crash.

The function may automatically launch an alert activity when the device detects that the user has been in a car accident.

Reports suggest that the feature will be exclusive to Pixel phones, so the millions of people using third-party Android phones may not be able to take advantage of this feature.

The crash detection feature would likely be available through the Safety Hub app. How could it detect a crash? It’s speculated that it may use GPS data to determine whether the user is in a car and use the accelerometer to detect a sudden stop. They may use the microphone to listen for the sound of the crash itself.

These features would probably be tied into Google’s machine learning technology.

The developers believe that the car crash detection function would alert emergency services or designated contacts. Considering that more than 40,000 people died in car accidents in 2001, the feature is a welcomed one that may help crash victims get help as quickly as possible.

San Francisco to Ban Facial Recognition Technology

San Francisco officials voted 8 to 1 to ban the use and purchase of facial recognition technology by city personnel.

The ordinance may become final after a second vote next week by the same officials, according to the Board of Supervisors.

Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who championed the ban, said their goal was not to undermine technology. Instead, they intend to protect “marginalized groups” that technology may harm.

The move comes amidst growing discontent in the U.S. over facial recognition technology. Government agencies have been using the technology for several years. It’s also become more powerful with the advance of artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

U.S. customs agents are now vetting foreign travelers using the technology.

Dogs are Helping Develop Technology to Detect Cancer

Researchers are currently using the dog’s superior sense of smell to help develop technology that will detect cancer in early stages. Researchers are using our canine companions to develop an electronic nose.

The electronic nose will be able to do all of the things that a trained dog’s nose can do.

Dogs themselves are still being used to help detect cancer in its early stages. In many cases, the dogs are more accurate than the tests and equipment.