A majority of hot car deaths occur because someone forgot that their child was in the car at the time, according to statistics.
To stop this from happening the EX90 will feature sensors integrated in the overhead console, roof-mounted reading lamps and the trunk that can detect sub-millimeter movement.
Jakobsson said Volvo’s research shows that the best time to signal the potential presence of family members left inside the car is when the driver attempts to lock the car. At that moment the interior radar system is activated and determines whether the car has any people or pets inside. If so, the car will remain unlocked. In addition, the car will display a reminder to check the cabin for occupants on the center 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. Jakobsson said heating or cooling will remain active until the battery runs out of power because saving lives take precedence over saving energy.
Volvo got assistance creating the system from sensor specialist Alps Alpine of Japan and Sweden’s Acconeer, which makes low-power radars.
“Trying to address this issue has been on my wish list for decades,” Jakobsson said.
Gunnar Ohlsson, Volvo’s product owner for interior systems, said that it took the automaker years to develop a solution that can accurately determine if people are left in the car, even if they are under a blanket.
“What we focus on is movements inside the cabin, in particular the breathing patterns, the movement of the chest,” he said.
This is made possible because sensors have evolved and Volvo’s understanding on how to maximize the abilities of the sensors has evolved, Jakobsson said.