New technology from Nissan could stop Thai kids from dying in hot cars


It’s unfathomable, needless and could be so easily prevented, but in Thailand each year children die after being left in the back in hot cars or minivans.

The tragedy can happen almost anywhere and given Thailand’s hot weather during any time of the year.

In 2016, a three year old kindergarten student died after being left in the back of a minivan for seven in blazing hot weather when the driver of the van and his assistant forgot about her.

Last week, a similar tragedy occurred when a six year old boy was locked inside a pickup truck for five hours.

The driver of the pick up truck, who was operating an unlicensed service taking kids to Wat Choeng Len School in Ayutthaya, failed to check if all the kids had got out of the vehicle.

Chanachai Kongphon fell into a coma after being trapped in the truck and died two days later.


Image: Nissan

In a bid to prevent other tragedies, car maker Nissan is releasing what is described as a ‘first of its kind’ technology that alerts drivers if passengers in the back do not leave the vehicle.

Dubbed, the Rear Door Alert system, Nissan has said the technology will be rolled out next year on its 2018 Pathfinder model.

The system works by honking the horn to remind drivers if it detects someone has been left in the back of the vehicle.

“By drawing your attention back to the vehicle, once you’ve walked away, you are more likely to recheck the back seat than with a visual alert alone,” said Elsa Foley of Nissan.

The Rear Door Alert can detect if a rear door was opened and closed at the start and the end of a journey. If it detects the the door was not opened it honks the horn and displays a warning light on the dashboard.

“The idea is if you open a rear door, whether to put a child or a package in the rear seat, the vehicle will help alert you when you get to your destination that you may want to check the rear seat,” said Nissan’s Marlene Mendoza, who helped develop the technology

Nissan says the technology will be first available in the United States. Here’s hoping it is made available on Nissan models to be sold in Thailand.


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