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TEXAS, USA — New technology developed by Toyota could save the life of someone you love.
Editorial note: The above video is from a related story.
Toyota’s new “cabin awareness” technology hopes to save lives and prevent heatstroke deaths inside hot cars.
The technology uses a 4D imaging radar sensor mounted out of sight above the vehicle’s headliner to detect the presence of a life form, even after a driver exits.
The National Safety Council says on average, 38 children die from heat stroke every year after being left in a hot car. Two kids have already died that way in 2022.
Toyota Connected in North Texas shared the new technology recently.
“The point of this technology is to prevent hot car deaths,” Simon Roberts, a managing engineer with Toyota said.
The new tech works regardless if a baby or animal is left in the car, or gets in on their own.
Other methods of preventing hot car deaths already exist, like cameras that have blind spots, radar systems with limited range and weight sensors that trigger false alerts.
Instead, the cabin awareness system can sense micro movements such as heartbeats, motion and the breathing of occupants across three full seating rows, the cargo area and the footwells.
“So we are able to distinguish between a grocery bag and a human,” Roberts said.
The car will notify you if someone is left behind by honking or flashing its lights. After those warnings, the system can be programmed to send a text message or phone call to you and any emergency contacts in your phone, or to give an in-home alert through Amazon Alexa.
If the system does not receive a response, the emergency system can contact first responders.
The feature isn’t available yet, but trials will start soon in Arlington and in Michigan.
The CDC reminds you that leaving a window open does not make a hot car safe for any living thing. Even with open windows, temperatures in the car can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes.
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