Above all, the youngest members of our society deserve special protection. Child Presence Detection is being developed for a very specific area. So let’s take a closer look in our Q&A.
Q: What is Child Presence Detection and why is it important?
A: There have been an alarming number of child deaths due to vehicular heatstroke in the US market, with a significant number of children dying each year from being left unattended in hot cars. Heatstroke is now the leading cause of non-crash-related deaths in vehicles for children under the age of 14. According to KidsAndCars.org, there were 37 hot car deaths in 2022, and as of the information available in 2023, there have been 28 such incidents. These tragic statistics highlight the ongoing importance of raising awareness and implementing safety measures like Child Presence Detection to prevent children from being left in hot vehicles. The “European New Car Assessment Programme”, Euro NCAP, is actively tracking and advocating for solutions to address this serious issue.
Child Presence Detection, according to NCAP, is a safety technology designed to prevent children from being accidentally left unattended in a locked car, which can lead to heatstroke and other life-threatening situations. The system typically uses sensors and technology within the vehicle to detect the presence of a child or an occupant and provides warnings or take preventive actions to ensure their safety.
Q: What conceptual/ technological approaches (e.g. which sensors to use how) exist today? Which is the most promising/ reliable today from our point of view?
A: There are different approaches when it comes to the detection of children in a car. Firstly there is the method of indirect sensing. This method makes an assumption, that somebody must be in the car, due to the fact, that doors were opened an closed. The better and more precise method is by direct sensing. In this method, sensors are used to identify the number and position of the passengers. For the new CPD NCAP regulations from 2025 onwards, there must be a direct sensing method implemented.
Within the industry several sensor types are preferred. One are cameras and ultra sonic sensors, the other ones are radars. Cameras make use of image processing technology while ultra sonic sensor rely on sound waves. Radar sensors are more accurate while making use of the doppler effect by emmiting radar waves. The doppler effect describes the changing frequency of the received radar signal due to the change in the wavelength. It can be used to precisely measure the chest strokes of an human. Even the slightest movements (e.g. the cheststroke of an infant) can be detected.
Q: What’s next on the road map towards improved passenger safety to come closer to #VisionZero?
A: Driven by our expertise in terms of safety and innovation, the mobility of the future will be safer than ever. And the future is closer then you might think. We are constantly challenged to always keep pushing and never lower our efforts and standards to improve our functions or develop new systems to improve the safety of automotive transportation.