Tesla To Add Occupant Detection to Its Cars as a Safety Measure

Tesla to add occupant detection to its cars as a safety measure 6 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
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Tesla EVs feature Camp Mode and Dog Mode to keep the cabin temperature safe, but these functions do not cover the many cases when owners forget their offspring in the car. At a mother's request, Elon Musk promised to add occupant detection to Tesla cars as a safety measure.
Elon Musk is a controversial CEO and sometimes can be annoying. Still, no other car executive listens to people's requests on social media and implements them as new features in their company's vehicles. This has happened several times, and it's still a thing, despite many saying that Musk is distracted with Twitter and other hustle jobs. Recently, Musk responded to a mother who wanted her Tesla to automatically detect if there's someone inside and keep the HVAC system on as a precaution.

The feature could be a life savior for people who forget their children in the car. Before you jump and say that Teslas come with Dog Mode and Camp Mode, which can be enabled before leaving the vehicle, note that the request is meant for the not-so-rare cases when people forget their babies or pets inside the car. In this case, Dog Mode or Camp Mode would likely not be enabled beforehand.

Case in point: the lady who goes by the handle Tesla Diva on Twitter (@TeslaDiva99) said she left her baby and teenage child in the car and went into the store. The vehicle instantly locked and shut down after she left. Luckily, the elder child touched the screen to turn it back on, but if only the infant had been in the car, they could've been in danger. Tesla Diva asked Elon Musk if Tesla could add an occupant detection feature and keep the car on for those babies that are forgotten inside the vehicle.

After confronting the hate directed towards her for leaving her children in the car, Tesla Diva got a swift reply from Elon Musk. The outspoken CEO confirmed what other owners noticed: Tesla automatically regulates the car temperature to keep it within a safe range even when the car appears off. The measure is meant specifically to protect infants and pets. But Musk also agreed that occupant detection would be handy to keep the car on for entertainment and comfort and promised to make the change.

Musk said the feature would use the cabin camera to "see" whether someone is left in the car. This would be a rudimentary solution and probably not very good, considering the cabin camera is not meant to cover the whole cabin. Volvo announced a similar feature for the upcoming EX90. The system would use a submillimeter-wave radar to detect the tiniest breathing movements inside the car, even when the pet or child is covered with a blanket.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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