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Commentary: Why are kids and pets still dying in hot cars? It's 2014 already.
 Date: June 19, 2014 09:58
 Submitted by:  JeffX
 Source: TOV Perspective
 Credibility Rating: Not Specified



Sorry to step up on my soap box, but this is something I have been thinking about for awhile, and after reading yet another senselessly tragic story it triggered my thoughts that there is a relatively easy solution to this problem.

Everything is smart these days. Smart phones, smart airbags, smart refrigerators, Smart Cars, memory foam mattresses. You name it, it probably has an embedded processor with more clock cycles than the USA's entire space program up through the 70s.

In cars alone, we have radar sensors, computer vision systems, wi-fi hotspots, millions of line of code, and enough computing power to run a moderately sized cloud hosting service. All of this technology is there to help drivers parallel park their cars, maintain their lanes, alert them of the dangers lurking with a 10 meter cone surrounding their vehicles, and even stop the car from 80mph with absolutely no driver intervention. You can pair your car to your smartphone and make and receive telephone calls, send and receive SMS messages. You can also connect apps and stream your favorite radio stations or even watch Netflix movies on your Display Audio-equipped Honda (only when the car is parked, of course). From your smartphone, you can check the charge status of your EV's batteries, remotely operate the HVAC system, remotely start the car. One day, you will probably even be able to remotely command your car to fetch you from its parking spot.

So with all of this advanced safety and entertainment technology, why haven't any of the automakers developed a "smart" occupant detection system? One which senses that a vehicle occupant was possibly accidentally left behind in a parked car, and oh, wow, the cabin temp is already nearing triple digits? With all the "smarts" cars possess these days, it seems like the vehicle could do any number of things to improve the stranded occupant's chances for survival. Here's just a few things I'm thinking:

  1. Start the car, activate the climate control system in order to maintain a habitable environment - let's say 75F (of course, this would require some form of CO detection, but we'll let the engineers sort that out).
  2. Honk the horn at specific intervals to gain the attention of any nearby people.
  3. Send a text message or even telephone call to the person who owns the car
  4. If 3) fails after a prescribed number of attempts, alert OnStar/AcuraLink/911
  5. Failing all of the above, unlock the doors and roll down the windows


There is already a huge array of driver-nanny aids - CMBS, LKAS, LDW, FCW, ACC. Generally, these are all designed to save the rest of us from distracted/inattentive/incompetent drivers in moving vehicles. Now, let's focus on the innocents who could be saved from the same inattentive/distracted drivers once the vehicle is parked.

This occupant detection system should be mandatory on every Van, Mini-van, SUV, and CUV that is sold. Bonus points for manufacturers who equip every one of their vehicles with it.


Last edited by JeffX on June 19, 2014 10:41

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Date Subject User
07-22-2014 12:02 Interesting BBC article on this yesterday   (Score: 1, Normal) A77
07-12-2014 15:11 HALO Baby Seat Safety System   (Score: 1, Normal) Sally
07-09-2014 23:11 possibly the best post ever on TOV thanks Jeff   (Score: 1, Normal) HondaCanuck
06-30-2014 08:07 The latest twist in this unfortunate but crazy story   (Score: 1, Normal) PhrozeDeuce
06-19-2014 21:08 Low tech way..   (Score: 1, Normal) FiSH-Chan
06-20-2014 00:31 ipribadi
06-20-2014 01:32 FiSH-Chan
06-29-2014 14:16 ldvknight
06-19-2014 21:39 Stupid solution...   (Score: 1, Normal) garfield134
06-19-2014 22:17 montechester
06-20-2014 05:58 garfield134
06-21-2014 19:46 BLK
06-29-2014 10:45 Gfn8r
06-27-2014 10:11 Turns out this was apparently a murder...   (Score: 1, Normal) Karl80
06-27-2014 18:35 eneka
06-26-2014 20:09 Solar Cooling System for Automobiles   (Score: 1, Normal) mcs07
06-25-2014 18:36 Electronic systems can fail, our system works, prevent hot car deaths   (Score: 1, Normal) jgrago
06-19-2014 12:49 Jeff please submit this idea!   (Score: 1, Normal) ipribadi
06-19-2014 12:58 ipribadi
06-19-2014 13:20 JeffX
06-19-2014 15:57 DCR
06-19-2014 22:28 montechester
06-20-2014 01:00 DCR
06-19-2014 16:03 HONDA AFVM
06-23-2014 03:21 AQ1
06-23-2014 10:32 notyper
06-23-2014 16:15 Fishbulb
06-24-2014 13:58 notyper
06-24-2014 20:28 JIRZLEE
06-25-2014 12:32 ipribadi
06-24-2014 06:21 jgrago   (Score: 1, Normal) jgrago
06-19-2014 11:19 Great ideas...there will be hurdles...   (Score: 1, Normal) cabradl
06-19-2014 11:22 Hondatalover
06-19-2014 11:31 JeffX
06-19-2014 11:37 jshaw
06-22-2014 19:14 crxb
06-19-2014 18:32 Looking at the symptom, not the cause   (Score: 1, Normal) notyper
06-19-2014 19:29 A77X
06-19-2014 21:47 garfield134
06-19-2014 23:26 iutodd
06-20-2014 01:01 av911
06-20-2014 02:00 FiSH-Chan
06-20-2014 01:58 DCR
06-20-2014 16:34 TonyEX
06-20-2014 08:47 Jinx...   (Score: 1, Normal) TreyS
06-20-2014 00:41 Car seat device   (Score: 1, Normal) ipribadi
06-20-2014 00:22 Statistics: Over 35 per year   (Score: 1, Normal) ipribadi
06-19-2014 10:46 I love this idea!   (Score: 1, Normal) iutodd
06-19-2014 10:55 Hondatalover
06-19-2014 11:05 JeffX
06-19-2014 11:19 Fishbulb
06-19-2014 11:24 JeffX
06-19-2014 12:41 mad_ox1
06-19-2014 14:12 xBeastx
06-19-2014 16:10 A77X
06-19-2014 16:55 mad_ox1
06-19-2014 22:52 iutodd
06-19-2014 17:38 Dog Friendly Element   (Score: 1, Normal) gofast182
06-19-2014 21:31 40mpg
06-19-2014 10:48 AGREED --My input.   (Score: 1, Normal) Hondatalover
06-19-2014 12:05 hokievtec
06-19-2014 12:19 ipribadi
06-19-2014 12:35 JeffX
06-19-2014 17:20 tsxfan19
06-19-2014 17:58 eneka
06-19-2014 18:12 shingles
06-19-2014 18:13 Gfn8r
06-19-2014 12:40 ipribadi
06-19-2014 19:04 Teamhondaguy
06-19-2014 19:04 Teamhondaguy
06-19-2014 18:35 Agreed, but what about the lawyers?   (Score: 1, Normal) HondaForever
06-19-2014 18:12 Thumbs Up   (Score: 1, Normal) 6SPDTL
06-19-2014 11:48 This has been around for a few years now   (Score: 1, Normal) BG
06-19-2014 12:03 BG
06-19-2014 12:51 BG
06-19-2014 13:03 ipribadi
06-19-2014 11:25 Great idea   (Score: 1, Normal) montechester
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