Tesla is seeking approval in the United States to market a short-range interactive motion-sensing device that could help prevent children from being left behind in hot cars and boost theft-prevention systems.
Reuters reports that the radar-based system "provides depth perception and can 'see' through soft materials, such as a blanket covering a child in a child restraint."
Tesla added it "can differentiate between a child and an object left on the seat, reducing the likelihood of false alarms" and can detect "micromovements like breathing patterns and heart rates, neither of which can be captured by cameras or in-seat sensors alone."
Tesla wants permission to use unlicensed millimeter-wave sensors that would operate at higher power levels than are allowed under existing rules.
The company says millimeter wave radar technology has advantages over other sensing systems like camera-based or in-seat occupant detection systems.
Radar imaging, Tesla adds, can assess body size to optimize airbag deployment in a crash depending on whether an adult or child is seated, which it says would be more effective than existing weight-based, in-seat sensor systems.
It would also more accurately determine when to engage seat belt reminders.
The Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comment on Tesla’s request until Sept. 21.