GM develops new safety tech to avoid locking kids in cars

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TAGS Holden GMC SUV Holden SUV Range Family Cars Safety Technology GM develops new safety tech to avoid locking kids in cars

24 June 2016 by Paul Gover · CarsGuide

General Motors has developed a rear seat reminder that's intended to prevent parents from locking their cars with children or pets inside. The Acadia SUV (tipped to reach local dealerships next year) was one of the first to be fitted with the rear seat reminder.

Hot weather deaths of children in cars will eventually become history if the former head of Holden gets his way.

General Motors has developed a rear seat reminder that's intended to prevent parents from locking their cars with children (or even pets) inside, a project that's a personal mission from global head of product development Mark Reuss.

"If it saves a life, how good is that?" he says.

GM first fitted the reminder on a new SUV called the Acadia. Reuss wants to fast-track it to vehicles sold by Holden in Australia — most likely in the Acadia, which is tipped to reach local dealerships next year.

"I've lived there. I know what it's like," Reuss says.

"I know in summer time in Australia the heat is terrible. It's not just for kids, it's pets too."

I think this should be in all family vehicles, cars and trucks and SUVs.

The timer starts when a rear door is opened, up to 10 minutes before the start of any journey. When the engine is next turned off, the tech sounds five chimes and a message appears on the instrument panel to remind the driver to check the rear seats.

GM knows that even the best technology can't completely stop overheating in car cabins, which can easily top 50 degrees in an Australian summer.

However, it is moving fast.

"It has to start somewhere," says Reuss.

"Safety (tech is) so important, and that's what I think GM should stand for. I want to see it become part of the DNA at General Motors."

That includes Holden, which is about to be flooded by a new generation of global models that have been developed by engineering teams that report to Reuss in Detroit.

"I think this should be in all family vehicles, cars and trucks and SUVs. It's really easy to implement," he says.

"This is the first generation of the technology. I think we'll get improvements as we go because a lot of people don't check the rear seat when they stop."

Reuss will not nominate which Holden will be first with the reminder but he does not rule out the Acadia that's due within 18 months.

"It will be one of the global products we sell in Australia. Most likely an SUV."

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