Hot News

New car technology helps prevent children being locked in hot vehicles 2021



New car technology helps prevent children being locked in hot vehicles 2021

At this time of the year, there are reports of children being locked in cars or buses. Sadly, in many cases, it eventually leads to death or severe heat stroke.

Fortunately, automakers are now using technology to solve this problem, installing rear-seat occupant detection functions, and if they lock someone inside, they can automatically send text messages to the driver.

In the first 10 minutes of leaving the car, the temperature inside the car rose by nearly 20ºC, which means that during the peak summer period in the UAE, the midpoint of 70ºC can be reached in less than half an hour.

New car technology helps prevent children being locked in hot vehicles 2021

Our rear passenger alert technology will remind the driver to check the rear passenger seat frequently to avoid the dire consequences that may occur due to momentary forgetfulness

Ravi Ravichandran, Executive Director of Direct Marketing, Ford Motor Company Middle East

Colonel Abdullah Mohamed Bishuh, head of the Dubai Police’s search and rescue department, said that incidents of unattended children in hot cars still occur frequently, with as many as three incidents being recorded every day.

The department announced in June that in the past 17 months, it had responded to 182 reports of unattended children and babies locked in hot cars and houses. In the first five months of this year alone, the police received 95 calls for help involving children, of which 36 were trapped in the car.

According to reports, most cases of parents leaving unsupervised children in their cars occurred in the parking lots of shopping malls, sometimes without air conditioning.

A global problem Can technology help prevent deaths of children in hot cars?

This is not only happening in the UAE; this is a global issue that is also of concern in the United States. According to General Motors, as of June 2016, about half of all children under the age of 14 who died of heatstroke in the car were caused by forgotten.

However, the country, through its automobile manufacturing industry, has been able to develop a way to counter this killer.

In 2019, the U.S. Congress proposed the Hot Cars Act (Helping Overcome Trauma for Child Alone in Rear Seats), which mandates rear seat occupant testing in all new cars, and it passed the Senate earlier this year. Now, by 2025, all vehicles sold need to use this technology.

Europe is also advancing its own rules, announcing that its new vehicle assessment program Euro NCAP will establish and apply child presence detection starting in 2023. This means that cars equipped with technology that monitors passengers locked in the car will receive additional safety points.

Ford Middle East is now installing this feature in cars sold in the region, starting with F-150 pickup trucks and some Lincoln models, and intends to introduce it to other variants.

"The safety and well-being of our customers is of paramount importance," said Ravi Ravichandran, executive director of Ford Motor Company's Middle East Direct Market Operations.

"Our rear passenger alert technology reminds the driver to always check the rear passenger seat to avoid the dire consequences that may occur in moments of forgetfulness."

Ford's system is triggered by opening the rear door at the beginning of the journey, and is activated when the vehicle is stopped and the ignition is turned off. A message and an audible warning for 10 seconds will be displayed on the dashboard immediately.

Is this technology really useful?

The latest data from Kids and Cars, a US non-profit organization, shows that after car companies installed this safety device before enforcement, the numbers have begun to decline.

The Child Safety Organization stated that in 2018, the number of incidents of child deaths caused by being locked in a car reached a peak of 54 in the United States. Since then, General Motors has released the first car equipped with a rear seat reminder function in the GMC Acadia SUV, and has quickly received attention from Hyundai, which released its version later in 2018.

Ford, Nissan, Subaru and others have also launched their own versions. Last year, the death toll fell to 26, and there have been 11 accidents so far this year.

"According to Kids and Cars statistics, an average of 39 babies and children die every year after being left in a locked car, so I think it is valuable for the industry to develop new technologies that can prevent such accidents," Eung- Hwan Kim, a senior researcher in the electronic convenience control development team of Hyundai Motor Group.

"Car manufacturers are taking safety measures, such as prompting the driver to check the rear seat through a message on the dashboard when leaving the vehicle. However, this may still be ignored by the driver. The movement of the rear seat area and the ultrasonic wave of the passengers can be recognized by the installation. Sensors, we have entered the next stage of the rear occupant alert of the new Genesis GV70."

Hyundai's first rear passenger alert system debuted on the 2021 Azera and has now been updated for the recently launched Genesis GV70 luxury SUV. Now, if the driver fails to confirm the message and audible warning in the car, it will continue to lock it. The radar sensor installed at the rear checks whether there is movement inside. If it is found, the hazard light will flash and the horn will beep. If this still doesn't work, it will also send a text message to the driver's mobile phone.

With these updates and new instructions, it is certain that within five years these functions will be as familiar as seat belts and airbags in all new cars.