Tesla’s life-saving feature for kids await regulatory clearance

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Tesla has requested clearance from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to market an interactive short-range motion sensing device that could help prevent children from being left behind in hot cars.

The device can also boost its theft prevention systems.

FCC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing and implementing the communications laws and regulations in America. It regulates interstate and international communication via radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

The US-based automaker needs permission to use unlicensed millimetre-wave sensors as it would be running at higher power levels than what is allowed under the existing regulations.

Tesla’s device would use four transmitters and three receive antennas powered by a front-end radar unit. Tesla says the technology of millimetre wave radar has advantages over other sensing systems, such as camera-based or in-seat occupant detection systems.

The radar-based device “provides perception of depth and can ‘see’ through soft materials, like a blanket that covers a child in child restraint.”

Tesla added that it can distinguish between a child and an object left on the seat, decreasing the risk of false alarms” and can detect “micro-movements” such as breathing patterns and heart rates, none of which can be recorded by existing cameras or in-seat sensors.

Radar imaging, Tesla adds, can measure body size to adjust the deployment of airbags in a crash depending on whether it is a person or a child that is seated. This, it claims, will be more accurate than conventional weight-based, in-seat sensors.

It would also determine more precisely on when to engage seat belt reminders.

Tesla notes that the FCC granted a similar request in 2018 for a Google device that works under the same operating parameters.