Hyundai Motor America said its Alabama-made Santa Fe SUV will include a feature to help prevent leaving babies and pets in the back seat – a mistake that has often ended in tragedy.
Hyundai said all 2020 models of the Santa Fe will have the feature and nearly all of its vehicles will have it as a standard feature by 2022. The feature will be available in the 2020 Sonata and the 2021 Elantra.
The automaker made the announcement on July 31, Heatstroke Prevention Day.
In addition to the 2020 Santa Fe, Hyundai’s 2020 Palisade includes the Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) as a standard feature. They also carry options for Ultrasonic ROA features.
Hyundai’s ROA door-logic system detects if a rear door was opened or closed before the car was started, then reminds the driver to check the rear seat with a message on the center display on the dash when exiting the vehicle. The Ultrasonic ROA has the door-logic technology and a sensor that helps detect movements of children and pets in the second-row seats.
If movement is detected after the driver leaves the vehicle and locks the doors, the feature will honk the horn and send an alert to the driver’s smartphone via Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car system.
“Heatstroke in vehicles is preventable and we are doing our part to prevent this,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of product, corporate and digital planning at Hyundai Motor America. “We have great systems that use both door logic memory and motion sensors to help prevent children and pets from being forgotten in the car, but it also helps in case children accidentally lock themselves in.”
The 2020 Santa Fe and Palisade come with door-logic ROA as standard and Ultrasonic ROA as an option.
Hyundai’s voluntary move comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Congress, Consumer Reports and the automotive industry are working to make rear seat reminder systems standard features on new vehicles in the future.
Hyundai said its door-logic system will be standard on most of its new vehicles by 2022 while its optional Ultrasonic ROA or a similar sensor-based system, will be available on more of its models in the future. On National Heatstroke Prevention Day the NHTSA and Hyundai are calling on the public to help prevent children from dying in hot cars this summer.
In addition to the Santa Fe, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama produces the Sonata and Elantra sedans at its plant in Montgomery.