Scientists develop sensor to save children and pets from hot car deaths

Scientists in Canada have developed a sensor that detects and raises the alarm when children or pets are...

Posted: Nov 11, 2019 1:05 PM

Scientists in Canada have developed a sensor that detects and raises the alarm when children or pets are left alone in a car.

The device uses radar technology and artificial intelligence to trigger an alarm when an animal or child is detected alone in a vehicle, with the team behind the product saying it works with 100% accuracy.

The sensor, which measures just over an inch, would be attached to a vehicle's ceiling or rear-view mirror. Its radar signals would be reflected back by people or pets inside the car, and AI would then analyze the findings to determine whether to raise the alarm, according to the scientists at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

The device would prevent doors from locking and sound an alarm to alert the driver and people in the area.

"It addresses a serious, world-wide problem," George Shaker, an engineering professor at the university, said in a statement. "This system is so affordable it could become standard equipment in all vehicles."

"Unlike cameras, this device preserves privacy and it doesn't have any blind spots because radar can penetrate seats, for instance, to determine if there is an infant in a rear-facing car seat," he added.

According to the safety organization Kids and Cars, an average of 37 children die each year in hot cars in the United States. In 2019 so far, the number of deaths is at 52.

These include instances in which a child has been forgotten in a car, accidentally locks themselves in a car or trunk, or, in a small number of cases, when a child has been intentionally left in a car. A recent case in Florida saw a toddler die after being left inside her family's car in the heat all day.

The team intends to bring the device to market by the end of 2020.

The vast majority (87%) of vehicular heatstroke victims are aged 3 or younger. More than half (55%) are 1 or younger. As Kids and Cars' research notes, the prevalence of backseat safety seats, especially rear-facing ones, may account for the young age of most victims, since the children are out of the driver's view and can't effectively communicate.

Some US states have so-called Good Samaritan laws, which protect a civilian if they break into a car to protect an unattended child. In a few states, this has been extended to include pets.

Terre Haute
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 72°
Robinson
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 69°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 74°
Rockville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 69°
Casey
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Brazil
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Marshall
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
The Heat Continues
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 149574

Reported Deaths: 7273
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook930534651
Lake10039425
DuPage9392477
Kane7909276
Will6996322
Winnebago311897
McHenry214198
St. Clair2054138
Kankakee131265
Unassigned1177210
Rock Island107330
Madison105470
Kendall100622
Champaign97315
Boone61721
DeKalb58720
Peoria57429
Sangamon46233
Jackson34019
McLean28913
Randolph2887
Stephenson2806
Ogle2784
Clinton24317
Macon23822
LaSalle23317
Whiteside20015
Union19519
Coles17917
Grundy1765
Iroquois1675
Tazewell1548
Knox1490
Warren1470
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Adams1341
Williamson1334
Morgan1323
Jefferson10717
Lee1042
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski800
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin603
Perry581
Montgomery561
Douglas540
Livingston532
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford372
Jersey361
Franklin340
Bureau312
Menard260
Mercer250
Washington240
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Bond171
Cumberland170
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne151
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall120
Edgar110
Brown100
Saline100
Greene80
Henderson80
Lawrence80
White80
Richland70
Hamilton60
Stark60
Gallatin40
Pike40
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193