Tesla may have found a sensor that detects a child left in a hot car

Tesla is working on a sensor that can detect a child being left in a hot car, Reuters reported(opens in a new tab) Thursday.

The automaker asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the short-range millimeter-wave sensor, which would operate at much higher power than is currently allowed. The device would have seven antennas (three to receive signals and four to transmit signals) and a radar front-end unit, and would be able to “see” through soft materials such as a blanket covering a child.

The device will also be able to differentiate between a child and an object on the seat, and can even detect the child’s breathing patterns and heart rate, according to Tesla.

The device can also be used for other scenarios; For example, it could be used to assess a passenger’s body shape to optimize airbag deployment in the event of a crash, or to determine with greater accuracy when to engage a seatbelt reminder.

Tesla isn’t the first company to think so; In fact, in its request, the company noted that the FCC has allowed Google to have a device that has similar operating parameters.

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In February 2019, Tesla launched a precursor of sorts to this idea with Dog Mode, a feature that sets the cabin temperature to keep the dog safe, and lets passersby know all is well. The company also introduced Sentry Mode, in which the car uses sensors to monitor its surroundings.

It’s unclear when the new sensor — if approved — will be built into Tesla cars.

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