NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s the time of year when law enforcement begins to warn about the dangers of hot cars, and the unintentional deaths that happen due to the heat.
But what if your car could warn you when someone is inside it? Toyota Connected’s Innovation Center is working on just that.
“It’s all meant to prevent hot car deaths,” said Simon Roberts, one of the project’s managing engineers. “Obviously, we are developing this for Toyota and Lexus, but this is something we call our Volvo moment. Where, they invented the 3-point safety belt that we all have today in every vehicle. We would like to see this adopted everywhere,” Roberts said.
It’s new technology they call “cabin awareness” meant to save lives and prevent heatstroke deaths inside the car. Whether it’s a baby or animal accidentally left in the back seat, or one who gets in on their own, radar sensors help to detect occupants by capturing micromovements like heartbeats.
“We are able to distinguish between a grocery bag and a human, whereas a weight sensor can’t do that,” Roberts said.
The car will notify its owner by honking or flashing the headlights. Following those warnings, the car will even text or call if programmed to.
The feature isn’t ready to roll out just yet. So far, it’s still in trials. But Roberts said he hopes it can inspire the industry and save lives in all cars, soon.