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Hyundai Mobis Develops Radar-Based Rear-Seat Reminder Tech

Supplier claims the system is more effective than cameras and other sensors
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Carmakers have ramped up efforts in recent years to detect and alert drivers of the presence of rear-seat occupants—and/or remind drivers to do so themselves—before exiting a vehicle.

Such systems can help prevent children from inadvertently being left inside a hot car. About 40 children die from heatstroke in the U.S. every year due to the problem.

Sensor Alerts

Most current systems simply remind drivers to check the rear seat after the engine is turned off and the front door is opened. This can be done via audio and visual prompts.

In some cases, the alerts are based on whether a rear door was opened prior to starting a trip. In addition, some carmakers use cameras, motion sensors or weight sensors to detect the presence of a rear-seat occupant.

Making a Good Thing Better

South Korea’s Hyundai Mobis has developed a radar-based technology teamed with advanced software algorithms that the supplier claims is more effective than other techniques.

Radar can measure bio-signals through clothes and other materials to detect “micromovements,” such as breathing, heart beats and blood flow, according to the supplier. By comparison, Hyundai Mobis says, camera-based systems can’t recognize babies covered in blankets.

Hyundai Mobis says its system is precise enough to distinguish adults, infants and pets. As with other systems, the radar unit could sound an alert or send or send a message to a driver’s phone if a rear-seat occupant is detected after the vehicle has been turned off.

What’s Next

Last September, two industry groups representing 20 carmakers agreed to equip new vehicles sold in the U.S. with rear-seat occupant reminders by 2025.

Under the voluntary agreement, which was announced by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Assn. of Global Automakers, new vehicles will include a system that prompts drivers to check the backseat after a car has been shut off.

Earlier last year, the U.S. Senate introduced legislation that would require new vehicles to include a rear occupant alert system. The new voluntary agreement could eliminate the need for a formal mandate.

General Motors began offering rear-seat reminder system in late 2016. Since then, Nissan and Hyundai have launched similar systems.

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