Future Tesla cars may come with a built-in feature that can make sure no kids are inadvertently left behind in hot cars. The automaker has asked the FCC for permission to market a short-range interactive motion sensing device that uses a higher power level than current rules allow. According to the company’s filing (via The Verge), the device uses millimeter-wave radar technology to detect movements within a vehicle and to classify its occupants.
The company noted that over 50 children died inside hot cars in 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Tesla said this technology can be more effective than camera systems at preventing similar deaths, because it can “see” through soft materials such as blankets and child restraints. And because it can detect breathing patterns and heart rates unlike weight-based sensor systems, it can tell the difference between an actual child and an object, thereby preventing false alarms.