Hyundai’s Radar to Protect ‘Forgotten Kids’

Hyundai’s component producer claims to have developed a radar system that could end the risk of children being left forgotten in the back of cars.

There have been several high profile cases of children who have perished after frazzled parents had forgotten they had left them in vehicles during periods of hot weather. Now Hyundai Mobis say it has a radar operated system it calls Rear Occupant Alert (ROA), for detecting rear-seat passengers and it is planning to propose the system to global automakers.

In the past, the weight sensor of children’s car seats or the ultrasonic sensor have been the traditional ways of monitoring occupancy. Hyundai Mobis claims its system vastly improves detection accuracy and is hoped to prevent heatstroke accidents caused every summer by children being left unattended in vehicles and other safety accidents.

If a passenger is left in the rear seat, the system alerts the driver with the sound made when the door is closed, or through the instrument panel or smartphone. It claims secured electromagnetic reliability so can work normally near high-voltage lines and railroad tracks and be precise enough to distinguish adults, infants and pets. Hyundai Mobis is also planning to develop a radar capable of measuring the heartbeats of passengers and expand the biometric function this year.

Jang Jae-ho, director of the EE Research Center at Hyundai Mobis, said: “The core of the passenger detection system, developed based on the radar which has been mostly acted as a sensor for autonomous driving, is the design of the software algorithm that discerns the micro-movements of passengers. As the radar can penetrate clothes and measure various biosignals, e.g. micro-movements of passengers’ chests and blood flow, it can detect the presence of passengers in rear seats more accurately. It overcame the weakness of the camera sensor, which cannot recognize babies covered in blankets. So far, there is no known case of application to global automakers.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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