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New technology to detect kids and pets in cars

Safety requirements will see child/pet detection technology mandated by 2022.

A new technology developed by Nidec Mobility and the University of Waterloo could save the lives of babies, toddlers and pets.

An in-vehicle radar system is currently in development as part of a collaboration between the Japanese technology company and Canadian university, and it aims to detect potentially-forgotten youngsters or furry friends to avert tragedy.

Each year thousands of children and pets die in hot cars around the world - it's such a problem that the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) and Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) will both require so-called "Child Presence Detection" for the maximum safety score from 2022 onwards.

The technology uses a radar mounted on the ceiling to detect movement. The technology uses a radar mounted on the ceiling to detect movement.

The University of Waterloo was involved in the development of motion sensors for the Google Pixel 4 phone, and this vehicular version of the motion-sensing system is set to use a ceiling-mounted radar that will be good for up to three rows of seats.

An in-vehicle camera is set to be part of the suite, too, and if a child or pet is detected the linked safety tech could sound the car's alarm "or send out frequent reminders to the driver outside the vehicle", or possibly adjust the car's air-conditioning.

Nidec predicts the tech will be rolled out in time to meet the 2022 requirements for the safety bodies.

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