Tesla is hoping to solve the problem of children being left in hot cars by implementing a new sensor that could also be used for theft-prevention.
The automaker has requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approve the use of unlicensed millimeter-wave sensors which would operate at higher power levels than existing rules allow, Reuters reports.
The short-range motion-sensing interactive devices would use four transmit and three receive antennas, along with radar that would provide a number of benefits over camera-based or existing occupant detection systems.
Tesla says the radar in their new sensor can “provide[s] depth perception and can ‘see’ through soft materials, such as a blanket covering a child in a child restraint.” To help prevent false alarms, the automaker says it “can differentiate between a child and an object left on the seat,” as well as detect breathing rates and heart patterns.
They further explain the radar is better than in-seat sensor systems that detect weight as it will be able to optimize airbag deployment depending if an adult or child is seated.
In Canada, an average of one child per year dies after being left in a hot car, with the unfortunate incidents mostly occurring between the months of May to September. In the US last year, 50 children died when left behind in hot cars.