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New Sensor Could Prevent Car Seat Deaths

Photograph by Twenty20

On average, 37 children die each year from heat-related deaths after being left alone inside a hot car. Surprisingly, warm weather isn’t always to blame. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a car can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly, even when it feels cool outside.

Knowing this, why would anyone leave a child unattended inside of a car? Perhaps the better question is: What can the automotive industry do to help prevent this from happening in the future?

Earlier this week, Forbes reported on a newly released 2-D, 3-D and motion-analysis sensor from Israeli-based company Guardian Optical Technologies. The company claims that their sensors—designed to work in tandem with seatbelts, airbags and other built-in safety systems—can distinguish between people and objects, and can identify the location and physical dimensions of each person and object inside of the car. The technology is so powerful, in fact, that it can detect even the smallest of heartbeats.

So, what does this mean for parents?

Although “safer passenger-aware cars” are able to monitor, analyze and communicate everything going on inside the car (even without a direct line of sight), they aren’t babysitters; nor are they equipped to perform CPR, should something happen. Still, the technology is impressive and could help save the lives of forgotten children, pets or elderly passengers.

“We’re confident that Guardian Optical Technologies is uniquely positioned to help the auto industry build safer and more convenient cars, while at the same time empowering them to lower costs," said Michael Granoff, managing partner of Maniv Mobility, a company that invested in the product.

Gil Dotan, CEO of Guardian Optical Technologies, adds that this automotive freedom will create a new reality for the rest of the world, and his example is oddly fascinating.

"The cabin of a vehicle is transformed into our new office or living room," Dotan said. "Car makers are now making great efforts to adjust to this new reality where new commercial opportunities will emerge."

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