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Radar technology in cars could save lives, reducing hot car deaths

Rear Occupant Alert.png
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 09:57:16-04

PHOENIX — Every year children die after being left behind in hot cars.

So far this year, at least three children have died across the nation, according to and nearly 1,000 have lost their lives since 1998.

ABC15 did some digging and found there’s new car technology that’s aiming to prevent these tragedies.

“Any step we can take to preserve a life, is a step we need to take,” said Hunter Wood.

Wood, with Larry H. Miller Hyundai in Peoria, says their ultrasonic rear occupancy alert system can save lives.

“Ultrasonic rear occupancy alert. So, it scans throughout the car. It’s kind of like radar. Sends wavelengths throughout the vehicle,” he added.

It picks up even the smallest amounts of movement, including wind coming in, breathing, and… “A little dog running around the back seat. So, it’s going to pick up everything,” said Wood.

Here’s how the system works.

“So, what triggers the alarms is when you open and close the rear doors. That starts the first alarm. Once we turn the vehicle off, a chime should alert, saying ‘check rear seats,’” he added.

If the driver still doesn’t check the back… “When you lock the doors, that sets the second alarm. What actually triggers it is any movement,” Wood told ABC15.

ABC15 sat in the back seat of a Hyundai Palisade. Wood got out of the car and locked it. Within a matter of seconds, the alarm went off, indicating he had left someone or something behind.

Should you forget to lock your car, the app on your phone will remind you to lock it. If there’s movement after that, the alarm will sound.

“So in the Genesis, the G80, GV70, GV80 are all going to have them. Also on the Hyundai side, the Elantra, the Sonata, the Tucson, the Santa Fe, and the Palisade, as well as the Santa Cruz will all have this technology,” said Wood, while talking about the Hyundai, Genesis models that have this technology.

Oscar Gonzales with Sanderson Ford says most of Ford’s newer models have a rear occupant alert.

“So anytime the vehicle is on, and somebody opens the rear back door to get in and out of it, when you turn off the vehicle to get outside, you'll get an alert on your infotainment screen telling you to check the back seat for any occupants,” Gonzalez told ABC15.

It’s technology that’s slowly being integrated into more and more cars. Technology with a purpose. The purpose of saving lives.

“If we can do anything we can to get that statistic down to zero, that’s what we want to do,” said Wood.