Technology company Continental has expanded its digital access system CoSmA by a Child-Presence-Detection function (CPD) for even more passenger safety. When the outdoor temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius, in-car temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees within half an hour. This has the potential to be life-threatening for young children as researched by University of Georgia. As a consequence, nearly 40 children in the US die from heatstrokes in the car annually, according to the National Security Council. Continental’s Child Presence Detection function uses ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to prevent such tragedies in the future. It detects a child in the cabin and sends out a warning within seconds. The CPD function also addresses vehicle manufacturer’s needs to meet in-cabin safety targets in view of the upcoming Euro NCAP safety rating and US regulations, which are driving for new child safety requirements in the vehicle by 2025.
“We were first to market with the ultra-wideband for digital vehicle access. We are now using this technology to save lives by detecting left-behind children in a vehicle. With this approach we are also increasing value for our customers”, says Jean-Francois Tarabbia, head of the business area Architecture and Networking at Continental.
Ultra-wideband: Detecting even the tiniest motion
CPD is seamlessly embedded into the already existing CoSmA UWB Digital Access Solution, which enables drivers to use their smartphone as a car key for hands-free access. To be able to detect children who were left behind, the UWB system is working in a so-called reflective-mode. Thereby, it receives its own transmitted UWB signals back from micro motions of an object. By detecting a change in frequency or phase of a returned signal, distance and the velocity of the moving target can be measured. Even the tiniest motion like the movement of a child’s chest while breathing can be detected by the sensors.
Based on unique respiration rates and micro-body-movements, the CPD with UWB system can classify passengers as infants, children or adults. If children are left behind in the car, the CPD system can send an audible, visual or haptic alert to the driver after ten seconds at the latest. UWB based CPD is also able to detect infants and children in any seating position, no matter if they are covered by a blanket or stay hidden in the cabin-footwell.
Using CoSmA UWB transceivers not only for access solutions but also for CPD ultimately makes additional hardware redundant and allows overall system cost savings and simplification. As a pioneering solution, CoSmA continues to enhance and innovate user experience in vehicles of the digital age.
Continental brought the digital access solution technology CoSmA using ultra-wideband into the market in 2021 by digitalising the car key and integrating the access function directly into the driver’s smartphone. With its latest version, working with ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, CoSmA offers maximum convenience combined with significantly improved security against relay attacks (man-in-the-middle).
An advanced algorithm allows UWB transceivers to differentiate between an inside- and outside-location of the digital key centimeter-precise. This allows hands-free access and engine start without the driver having to pick up the smartphone. Vehicle owners can moreover create and manage multiple digital keys at the same time instead of passing on a physical key. A generated key can be conveniently shared with others.