Children forgotten about and left behind in a locked vehicle is one of many things which could go wrong. Hyundai aims to rectify that with the Rear Occupant Alert System, which uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor the vehicle’s rear seats.

The system employs aural and visual alerts to draw the driver’s attention to the matter. When the driver is exiting the vehicle, a visual prompt first appears on the centre instrument display; if movement is detected in the rear seats after the driver has left the vehicle, the horn will sound, lights will be flashed and, if connected to the Hyundai Blue Link system, the driver’s smartphone will receive an alert.

Child deaths by heatstroke in vehicles is a lamentable statistic. In the United States, 38 children have died from heatstroke in hot cars, while more than 800 children have died in the country from heat-related ailments in vehicles since 1994. Parents unaware the child was in the car accounted for 55% of such occurences, according to Hyundai.

The Rear Occupant Alert System will be rolled out on Hyundai models in the US, beginning in the 2019 model year. “This system is a first step in preventing tragedies. We understand only a brief lapse in judgement and inattention can have terrible consequences,” said vice president of product, corporate and digital planning at Hyundai North America, Mike O’Brien.

Nissan has a slightly different approach for the same purpose with its Rear Door Alert, which will alert the driver to check the rear passenger compartment if a rear door was opened prior to a drive, but has not been re-opened once the journey has been completed.