The Office of Engineering and Technology of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken action that will allow for the eventual deployment of technology to help prevent serious injury to children inadvertently left in overheated cars.
Under the terms of an Order issued in mid-April, the FCC has granted limited waivers to six manufacturers that will allow them to market short-range interactive motion sensors for unlicensed operation in the 57-64 GHz band. These in-cabin radars can then be linked to customized vehicular applications that can detect movement linked to a child or children that have been left in a vehicle or that have become trapped.
The waivers were requested by the device manufacturers since the sensors reportedly require higher power levels than those permitted under FCC rules.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 50 children died each year in 2018 and in 2019 as a result of being left unattended in a vehicle, with a much larger number suffering significant injuries. The majority of these incidents reportedly involved parents who forgot a child placed in a rear seating area of the vehicle, hence the potential value of in-cabin detection technology.