New technology will detect children left behind in a hot car

Tesla has started developing motion-detection sensor technology that will alert the owner in case they leave a child behind in a hot car.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data found that more than 50 children died of heatstroke in 2018 and 2019 because someone left them locked inside in a hot car.

Before the company is allowed to market the new technology, however, approval from the Federal Communications Commission will be necessary.

This is because the technology relies on the use of unlicensed millimetre-wave radar sensors that would operate at a higher level of power than what the current rules allow for.

According to Tesla, the new technology would:

  • Reduce the risk of paediatric vehicular heatstroke
  • Reduce the risk of theft
  • Protect the vehicle occupants from injury

Thanks to radar imaging technology that measures body size, Tesla can tell the difference between children and adults.

This is useful not only for child-related alerts but also for optimising airbag deployment in the event of a crash.

Tesla’s current technology already utilises both interior and exterior sensors for various safety measures.

For instance, there is Dog Mode, which allows dog owners to provide optimal temperature conditions for dogs left behind in the vehicle.

One of its additional features enables you to alert passers-by that you will only be gone for a couple of minutes.

There is also Sentry Mode – while enabled, the car activates exterior cameras to detect any movement in its vicinity and identify a potential intruder.

In the past, other carmakers have introduced similar related technology, an example of which is Nissan’s 2018 sensor system installed in its Pathfinder SUVs for detecting whether the rear door is opened.

In case the driver does not open the rear door after parking the vehicle, the horn will beep several times to remind them.