Child-detection safety technology may get mandate

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TEL AVIV, Israel — U.S. lawmakers and European safety regulators are considering rules that could mandate “child presence detection” systems aimed at avoiding hot-car deaths of unattended children. That has suppliers scrambling to develop new systems for automakers, according to interviews with several high-tech suppliers at a recent industry conference here.

“Everybody is looking at this,” said Raviv Melamed, CEO of the Israeli firm Vayyar Imaging. “The moment you have regulation, things are going to move fast,” Melamed told Automotive News. “The timelines are very, very close.”

Vayyar is one of several vehicle technology suppliers working on child presence systems, as well as other forms of driver and occupant monitoring.

Such features already were attracting interest from consumers as vehicles take on more automatic safety tasks. But the prospect of new regulation for the technology is speeding up detection system development, according to interviews with suppliers here.

The closest deadline comes from the European New Car Assessment Program, popularly known as Euro NCAP, which issues crash-test ratings of up to five stars. Euro NCAP announced that starting in 2022, it will begin awarding rating points for child presence detection, “which can detect a child left alone in a car and alert the owner and/or the emergency services, to avoid heatstroke fatalities.”

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