Stories of children being accidentally left behind in hot cars, or locking themselves in, are rare but still much too common. Hyundai has developed a new Rear Occupant Alert system that it intends to introduce in its new models starting in 2019.
“This system is a first step in preventing tragedies. We understand only a brief lapse in judgment and inattention can have terrible consequences,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, product, corporate and digital planning, Hyundai Motor America.
So how does the system work? It monitors the rear seats of the vehicle using an ultrasonic sensor that can detect movements of passengers seated there. As soon as the driver’s door is opened once the vehicle is immobilized, a message displays behind the steering wheel to remind the driver to check the back row of seats.
If the system detects movement once the driver has left the vehicle and closed the door, it will activate the horn and cause the lights to flash, in addition to sending an alert to the owner’s smartphone via Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car system.
Last year General Motors pioneered a similar technology in the 2017 GMC Acadia.