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Sensors Saving Lives: A Look at NOVELDA's New Child Presence Detection Technology

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Last week, I covered a new partnership between the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) and the FiRa Consortium (FiRa). The former, a cross-industry organization (i.e. representing companies including Apple, BMW, Ford, Google, Honda, Hyundai, Samsung, etc.) that works on advancing smartphone-to-car connectivity solutions. The latter, a driver of the development of technical certifications and specifications regarding fine-ranging localization and ultra-wideband (UWB) positioning technologies. UWB is the key here; its success depends on an interoperable, holistic and interconnected system. Thus, entities like the CCC and FiRa collaborating on the development of UWB for essential, real-world environments is important. (Read the story in full here.)

Focusing on UWB, a new announcement dropped earlier this morning, courtesy of NOVELDA, a renowned provider of highly accurate and intelligent sensor solutions designed for human presence detection. NOVELDA’s UWB short-range impulse radar sensors comply with worldwide UWB regulations – not unlike what the CCC and FiRa are jointly involved with; NOVELDA is even a CCC member, to boot – and are used for key-less vehicle access, ticket validation and tap-free mobile payment, unmanned store and residential access, asset tracking and, as mentioned, to detect human presence. (Say, for instances when a child is left in a car. In such a critical moment, fast and dependable detection capabilities are key.)

So, the announcement:

NOVELDA announced that it will be demonstrating its new X7 UWB Child Presence Detection (CPD) and Vital Signs Monitoring solutions at CES 2024.

The X7 UWB CPD sensor solution features robust CPD and in-cabin sensing, providing automotive manufacturers with a more reliable and energy-efficient alternative to 60GHz sensors for lifesaving CPD, seat occupancy, and in-vehicle positioning and intrusion detection applications. (Notably, this NOVELDA solution is already in an initial sampling phase with several of the world's largest car OEMs, as well.)

As required by applicable UWB regulations, the X7 UWB CPD sensor solution can set off an alarm within mere seconds if a driver has left a child or pet in a vehicle in dangerous weather conditions, while the vehicle is inaccessible, etc. Additionally, the sensors are expected to support other advanced features, such as vital signs monitoring and kick sensor for easy trunk access, preventing potential false positives.

NOVELDA’s technology stands apart in how it is intrinsically less sensitive to obstacles and materials, featuring better penetration abilities, hence requiring only one sensor inside the cabin for full coverage. The sensor can register micro-movements like respiration and heartbeat (even if a child is covered under a blanket, has moved away from its baby seat or has fallen on the vehicle’s floor).

The importance here is undeniable; per The New York Times, 1,050 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke since 1990. Since then, global government actions have been aiming to reduce these incredibly preventable tragedies, the U.S.’s Hot Cars Act and the European New Car Assessment Programme being two such actions.

From ABI Research, Senior Research Director Andrew Zignani commented on this new development from NOVELDA.

“The UWB sensing market is expected to capture significant new opportunities over the next decade due to UWB's ability to support diverse use cases for automotive, commercial building, smart homes and more,” Zignani said. “NOVELDA's newest sensor, designed for automotive child presence detection and in-cabin sensing, will help to enable this projected growth and demonstrates the value of UWB's accuracy for various vertical markets."

Jean-Christophe Doucet, NOVELDA’s CCO, is clearly of the same mind.

“By inventing this revolutionary UWB radar sensor, we dramatically simplify manufacturers’ integrations of lifesaving CPD technology,” Doucet explained. “Our new offering combines unrivaled reliability and sheer energy efficiency that far exceeds the capabilities of competing sensor solutions.”

As of this article’s publication, official evaluation kits for NOVELDA’s X7 UWB CPD sensor will become available by the summer of 2024.




Edited by Greg Tavarez
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