Tue. Sep 26th, 2023
Apple Launches Roadside Assistance Service via Satellite

With the release of the iPhone 15, Apple is introducing a new service called Roadside Assistance via satellite. This service is being launched in partnership with AAA. It builds upon the existing Emergency SOS and Find My via satellite features that were introduced with the iPhone 14 and recent Apple Watch models.

Roadside Assistance via satellite allows iPhone 15 users to select from various scenarios, such as being locked out of their vehicle, running out of fuel or charge, or experiencing a flat tire. Even in places where there is no cell signal, users can text an AAA operator for assistance.

The new Roadside Assistance interface will guide users to connect to a satellite and share their information with a roadside assistance provider. Using the user’s GPS location and other data, the provider will directly message them and dispatch help with the appropriate equipment.

It remains to be seen how well this service will perform in practice. Roadside Assistance via satellite differs from other satellite-based data and text connectivity options offered by Lynk, T-Mobile, and Starlink. Instead of relying on cell towers strong enough to reach and receive a satellite signal, Roadside Assistance via satellite, through Globalstar, uses bands that typically require a special antenna.

Last year, Apple allocated $450 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to expand the infrastructure supporting its satellite-based emergency services. This funding went towards the satellite network, ground stations, and the installation of custom-built antennas designed to receive signals from Globalstar’s satellite constellation.

For iPhone 15 buyers, Roadside Assistance will be offered for free to AAA members who have been with the organization for at least two years. Non-members will have the option to access the service at a premium.