May 18, 2023 Press Release

FCC Greenlights Major Safety Tech: Alerts Drivers When Kids Left in Hot Cars

Approves higher-powered mobile radar operations in the 60 GHz band

Will enable life-saving automotive innovations that detect movement of a child and trigger alerts

WASHINGTON, DC – At its May open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the use of higher-powered mobile radar operations in the 60 GHz band. Among the automotive applications that can be further deployed now that the FCC has taken this action: life-saving sensing technology to monitor for children inadvertently left unattended in vehicles, seatbelt reminders and air bag deployment control.

Alliance for Automotive Innovation recently urged the FCC to approve this rule to enable in-cabin safety technologies, including occupant detection technology that can sense the slightest movement of a child and initiate a driver notification that someone was left unattended in the vehicle.

Approval of these automotive safety innovations – particularly to identify children left in hot vehicles – is a key priority for FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

John Bozzella, president and CEO, Alliance for Automotive Innovation said: “Reliable and ubiquitous connectivity enables all kinds of game-changing vehicle technologies from safety to autonomy to next generation communications. These have something in common: they require access to spectrum. Today the FCC expanded operational flexibility in an important spectrum band that will actually, not hypothetically, but actually support the auto industry’s plans to add more life-saving radar technology into vehicles.”

Automakers and suppliers on the new rule:

Statement from Robert Bosch, LLC: “With these amended rules from the FCC, Bosch plans to utilize this new band for in-cabin radar, deploying safety technology such as Child Presence Detection.”

Statement from Hyundai: “Expanding operational flexibility in the 60GHz band will bring many benefits to vehicle owners, especially in safety. For example, Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis, offers a radar-based rear occupant alert system on the Genesis GV70 that can detect subtle movements and alert the vehicle owner if a child or pet is accidentally left in a hot car by mistake. Opening this spectrum directly to vehicle safety technologies is the right move for the auto industry and consumers.”

Statement from Infineon Technologies: “Infineon Technologies supports new and innovative radar solutions for vehicles. As the No. 1 provider of automotive semiconductors, we believe 60 GHz radar technology can help keep passengers and pedestrians safer in future vehicles.”

Statement from Texas Instruments: “Texas Instruments applauds the FCC order to permit new innovations in the 60 GHz band. Under the new rules, TI’s in-cabin vehicle sensors can enable the design and development of systems to detect children in the vehicle and remind drivers of their presence before exiting the vehicle. Our vehicle sensors can also enable the design and development of contactless vital sign monitoring to help detect fatigue or sleepiness and alert drivers—prompting them to take a break, which can make roads safer for everyone.”

Rulemaking history:

In 2021, the FCC approved a number of waivers from auto companies to allow use of the 60 GHz band for radar-based safety technologies and initiated a rulemaking to allow the permanent use of the spectrum for these purposes. Additional Alliance for Automotive Innovation comments to the FCC were filed in September and October 2021.

Commitment to preventing pediatric heatstroke with vehicle technology:

Last year, Alliance for Automotive Innovation released an update on the auto industry’s progress toward universal rear seat reminder systems in new vehicles by 2025. The report indicated more than 150 vehicle models on the market include the lifesaving rear seat reminder technology as standard or optional equipment (a three-fold increase in three years). Participating manufacturers signed the automotive industry’s voluntary commitment to install rear seat reminder systems in most new cars by 2025.