Continental says it has expanded its digital access system CoSmA by adding a Child-Presence-Detection (CPD) function for extra passenger safety.

The company points out that nearly forty children in the US die from heatstrokes in the car annually, according to the US National Security Council. When outdoor temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius, in-car temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees within half an hour, Continental says, and this has the potential to be life threatening for young children.

Continental’s Child Presence Detection (CPD) function uses ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to detect a child in the cabin and sends out a warning ‘within seconds’. The CPD function also addresses vehicle manufacturer’s needs to meet in-cabin safety targets in view of the upcoming Euro NCAP safety rating and US regulations, which are driving for new child safety requirements in the vehicle by 2025.

 “We were first to market with the ultra-wideband for digital vehicle access. We are now using this technology to save lives by detecting left-behind children in a vehicle. With this approach we are also increasing value for our customers”, says Jean-Francois Tarabbia, head of the business area Architecture and Networking at Continental.

CPD is embedded into the already existing CoSmA UWB Digital Access Solution, which enables drivers to use their smartphone as a car key for hands-free access. To be able to detect children who were left behind, the UWB system is working in a so-called reflective-mode. Under this, it receives its own transmitted UWB signals back from micro motions of an object. By detecting a change in frequency or phase of a returned signal, distance and the velocity of the moving target can be measured. Even the tiniest motion like the movement of a child’s chest while breathing can be detected by the sensors, Conti claims.

Based on unique respiration rates and micro-body-movements, the CPD with UWB system can classify passengers as infants, children or adults. If children are left behind in the car, the CPD system can send an audible, visual or haptic alert to the driver after ten seconds at the latest. UWB based CPD is also able to detect infants and children in any seating position, no matter if they are covered by a blanket or stay hidden in the cabin-footwell.

CoSmA UWB ‘revolutionizes classical car keys’

Continental brought the digital access solution technology CoSmA using ultra-wideband into the market in 2021 by digitalizing the car key and integrating the access function directly into the driver’s smartphone. With its latest version, working with ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, Conti claims CoSmA offers maximum convenience combined with significantly improved security against relay attacks (man-in-the-middle).

An advanced algorithm allows UWB transceivers to differentiate between an inside- and outside-location of the digital key centimetre-precise. This allows hands-free access and engine start without the driver having to pick up the smartphone. Vehicle owners can create and manage multiple digital keys at the same time instead of passing on a physical key. A generated key can be conveniently shared with others, the company adds.