Interior radar system from Volvo ensures that no one is left behind

28th September 2022
Paige West

A new interior radar feature developed by Volvo engineers is designed to be accurate and sensitive enough to detect the tiniest movements at sub-millimetre scale – such as those of a sleeping toddler.

It’s the first such feature to cover the entire interior of the car, including the boot.

The new radar system, which will be included in forthcoming Volvo EX90 all-electric SUV, is designed to help address a cause of terrible tragedy that has proven all too real for too many families.

US government statistics show that since 1998 more than 900 children in the US have died after being left in hot cars. Heartbreakingly, a majority of hot car deaths occur because someone forgot that their child was in the car at the time.

Volvo want to help ensure that no one will be left behind or forgotten.

Its new interior radar system will first be rolled out as standard, where regulation allows, on the Volvo EX90 that will be revealed on 9 November. The feature will also be included in other forthcoming Volvo car models.

Technology that supports you

With sensors integrated in the overhead console, the roof-mounted reading lamps and the boot of the car, the new system is the first that can detect sub-millimetre movement in the entire interior of the car.

To cover as much of the cabin as possible and sense whether a child or pet has been left in the car, Volvo has spaced radars throughout the cabin from front to back, including the boot.

“No one chooses to be distracted or tired, but we know it can happen,” said Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist in injury prevention. “We’re all human and distraction is a fact of life. With the help of cutting-edge technology, we’ll support you when you’re not at your best and help you avoid leaving family members or pets behind by accident.”

Occupant sensing

To notify you when you need it, and to help avoid ‘reminder fatigue’, experts have determined that the best time to signal the potential presence of family members left inside the car is when you attempt to lock the car.

Every time you try to lock the car, the interior radar system is activated and determines whether your car is empty of any people or pets before it allows the car to be locked.

If a family member or pet is detected inside, the car will remain unlocked and the car will display a reminder to check the cabin for occupants on the centre console screen.

The car’s climate system can remain on if people or animals are detected in the cabin, to improve comfort. This can also help lower the risk of hypothermia or heatstroke.

“We’ve always been a leader in safety, and we want to continue protecting lives by setting new standards in automotive safety,” said Lotta Jakobsson. “That also means making you feel safe and giving you peace of mind. That type of emotional safety will help you enjoy life to the fullest, while at the same time helping you to prevent tragedies from happening.”

The small print

The interior radar system will come as standard in all countries where the 60GHz frequency used by the system is approved for automotive use. Volva is constantly working with individual markets to secure approval and will activate the system as and when approvals are granted.

The climate system will remain working as long as the high-voltage battery has enough charge. 

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