Hyundai will make Rear Occupant Alert standard by 2022
Yet another automaker attempts to rid the world of hot-car deaths.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Automakers have been standardizing a number of safety systems in their vehicles over the last several years. Most OEMs tend to focus on avoiding crashes with included tech like automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, but many are also worried about what could happen if a child or pet is inadvertently left in the back seat.
on Wednesday announced that it will voluntarily standardize its Rear Occupant Alert system on "most" of its new vehicles by 2022. There's a second, even more capable version of this system that the company says will also see expanded inclusion in the future, as well. As it turns out, July 31 is National Heatstroke Prevention Day, so Hyundai picked a good day to make this announcement.
The more basic version of Rear Occupant Alert detects if a rear door was opened or closed prior to starting the car, and if that's the case, it will remind the driver through a message in the gauge cluster to check the rear seats for anything that shouldn't be left behind. This is more or less the same system that other automakers use.
Watch this: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe places safety before sport
The more advanced version of Rear Occupant Alert involves more than just a new "if" statement buried somewhere in the car's code. In addition to the door-based technology, Hyundai also embeds an ultrasonic sensor into the car to detect movement in the second row. If movement is detected after the vehicle is shut off and locked, it will honk the car's horn and send a notification to the driver's phone through Hyundai's Blue Link connected-car system -- provided the car is equipped with Blue Link and its service is active. Automakers haven't really adopted systems like these en masse, in part because it incurs a greater cost than simply checking for opened doors.
Right now, the basic Rear Occupant Alert is standard on the 2020
SUVs, with the ultrasonic version available as an option. The ultrasonic system is available on the 2019 Santa Fe, as well. Later this year, when the 2020
launches, it will have the simpler system standard, too. It's unclear which Hyundai vehicles are slated to make this standard in the future, but we'll definitely call it out as it happens.