Every summer we are reminded that summer heat can be deadly for children and family pets when they get left in the family vehicle – even for a very short time – in the hot summer sun. With the summer heat peaks now here, we regrettably are beginning to hear of these incidents more frequently.
In response to concern about their customer family well-being (including pets), Nissan has announced the development and deployment of a new Rear Door Alert (RDA) technology that they hope will reduce these incidents.
How it works
The new system utilizes door sequence logic, center instrument panel message display and industry-first multiple horn honks to help remind drivers to check the rear seat after the vehicle is parked. The system can help remind customers of anything that may have been forgotten in the rear seat beyond children and pets. Think ice cream, bagged ice, chocolate bars, groceries and other heat sensitive perishables.
RDA monitors the rear door switches to detect their open/closed status prior to and after a trip. If the system detects that a rear door was opened/closed prior to a trip, but then was not re-opened again after the trip was completed and the vehicle put in park with ignition turned off, the system alerts with a series of notifications, starting with a display in the instrument panel and progressing to subtle but distinctive chirps of the horn.
If the driver does not respond to the visual and audible signals from the instrument cluster alert, the system continues the alert with louder distinctive honking of the horn to the get the attention of the driver as they walk away.
Because there can be many scenarios in which a driver might open a rear door—everything from throwing in a gym bag to cleaning the car—the RDA system is easily configurable and can be turned off temporarily or permanently through prompts in the cluster display.
The first application of the RDA system as a standard feature will be on their family-friendly three-row 2018 Pathfinder SUV arriving in dealerships later this summer. Other vehicles in the Nissan lineup will follow.
What about coupes (2-door) you ask
With the exception of some configurations of the Nissan Frontier and Titan pickup trucks – without a rear door/rear seat configuration – the only 2-door vehicle is their GT-R super sports coupe which is not likely a vehicle that will have persons or pets in the rear seat. But, a driver may have put some ice cream or other perishable back there that would make a huge mess if left in the car. Nissan tells me their engineers will be working on an RDA for that next.