Apple confirmed on Monday that iOS 12 will include a new feature that will automatically and securely share a users exact location with first responders in a situation of a 911 emergency call.
911 responders earlier found it difficult to determine a callers exact location due to an outdated infrastructure of landline-based phones. To help improve this, in 2015 Apple introduced HELO (*Hybridized Emergency Location Service), which was able to identify a mobile caller’s location using nearby cell-towers, Wi-Fi Access points, and GPS.
Apple has been working along with RapidSOS, a New York-based company that provides Emergency Communications technology, whose board of directors include three former FCC commissioners. Apple will make use of RapidSOS’s ‘Internet Protocol-based data pipeline’ to quickly and securely share *HELO location data with over 6300 Emergency 911 response centers across the US.
Apple CEO Tim Cook made a statement saying “Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal,” he continued by saying “When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance.”