Could a small electronic sensor tucked in a car's plastic and fabric headliner save lives?
Toyota Motor Corp. thinks it could and is currently testing Cabin Awareness, an "inward-facing, millimeter-wave, high-resolution imaging radar to detect the micromovements of most life forms" inside a car and help make sure that neither babies nor pets are left in hot vehicles, Larry P. Vellequette from our sister paper Automotive News writes.
In 2021, 23 children and 59 pets died in the U.S. because they were left in hot cars. Cabin Awareness is sensitive enough to even detect the rise and fall of a sleeping baby's chest, then can send alerts to the driver. If needed, it can even open windows or turn on a vehicle's heating or cooling system if it detects a dangerous situation.
Cabin Awareness is going through trials on autonomous Sienna minivans being tested in Michigan and Texas.