Nissan is the latest automaker to introduce a rear seat reminder so that frazzled parents don’t leave their kids in a hot back seat. The company’s Rear Door Alert honks the horn if it senses that a child might still be in the vehicle once mom or dad gets out. The tech is standard equipment on the 2018 Pathfinder, which goes on sale in September.
Rear Door Alert monitors the back doors to see when they open and close. If the tech finds that a rear door opened before a trip but wasn’t opened again after the ignition turned off, then there’s initially a warning on the instrument panel. If nothing happens, then the horn honks to remind owners that there could be something there. Drivers can temporarily or permanently disable the Rear Door Alert, too.
“The idea is if you open a rear door, whether to put a child or a package in the rear seat, the vehicle will help alert you when you get to your destination that you may want to check the rear seat,” said Marlene Mendoza, a mechanical engineer at Nissan who helped develop Rear Door Alert. “We’ve built in enough time that you don’t have to rush, but if you don’t open the rear door again when you get out of the vehicle, we want to think for a moment about what you may have put in the back seat.”
Gallery: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder: Review
After arriving on the Pathfinder, Rear Door Alert will appear in other Nissan models soon.
General Motors was among the first automakers to introduce tech like this with its Rear Seat Reminder. The system also monitors whether the rear door opens before a trip, and when the engine shuts off at the end of a journey, there are immediate chimes and the message “rear seat reminder/look in rear seat” when the engine turns off. The feature is available on a variety models from Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC.
Gallery: Nissan Rear Door Alert
First-of-its-kind Rear Door Alert technology from Nissan can help remind drivers to check their rear seats
Rear Door Alert (RDA), an idea proposed by a pair of Nissan engineers, who are also mothers, inspired by Nissan’s “culture of innovation”
New system utilizes door sequence logic, center instrument panel message display and industry-first multiple horn honk to help remind drivers to check the rear seat after the vehicle is parked
The system can help remind customers of anything that may be forgotten in the rear seat
First-ever Nissan application will be standard on the family-friendly three-row 2018 Pathfinder SUV when it goes on sale next month
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 2, 2017) – With summer heat on the rise, potential issues posed by interior car temperatures are even more real, but Nissan hopes its new Rear Door Alert (RDA)1 may help reduce concerns.
Elsa Foley, an industrial engineer and mother of two young children, and Marlene Mendoza, a mechanical engineer and mother of three, decided to work on an idea to help remind drivers to check their back seats before walking away.
“We pushed each other along and knew we were on the right track one morning when Marlene discovered she had left a pan of lasagna in the back seat of her car one night after coming home after a long day at the office,” said Foley. “The worst thing was the car smelled for days, but it made me ask myself, ‘what if that had been something else back there’?”
After presenting their idea - with Mendoza eight months pregnant at the time - the project moved into full development at the Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA) in Farmington Hills, Mich. The new RDA feature will debut as standard equipment on the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder SUV this coming September, and will be available on other Nissan models in the coming years.
“There’s a culture of innovation along with the Nissan Intelligent Mobility mission that really encourages employees around the world to seek out new ideas every day,” said Mendoza. “We’re thankful that we were able use our perspectives as moms, and our backgrounds as engineers, to bring forward an idea that is now going into production – providing drivers with a reminder to check their back seats.”
The new Rear Door Alert system can help remind Nissan owners to check the rear seat by using a series of distinctive honks as the driver is walking away from the vehicle. The audio alerts distinguish the Nissan RDA from other systems in the marketplace.
“The Rear Door Alert uses a similar honking cue that has been proven successful with Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert,” added Foley. “By drawing your attention back to the vehicle, once you’ve walked away, you are more likely to recheck the back seat than with a visual alert alone.”
How the Rear Door Alert System Works
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, given the vehicle was put in park and the ignition cycled off, the system responds with a series of notifications, starting with a display in the instrument panel and progressing to subtle but distinctive chirps of the horn.
Because there are so many scenarios when a driver might open a rear door, 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 idea is if you open a rear door, whether to put a child or a package in the rear seat, the vehicle will help alert you when you get to your destination that you may want to check the rear seat,” said Mendoza. “We’ve built in enough time that you don’t have to rush, but if you don’t open the rear door again when you get out of the vehicle, we want to think for a moment about what you may have put in the back seat.”
Nissan Offers Technology for All
Nissan has long been an innovator in developing advanced technologies under the banner of the Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield Technologies.
The company recently announced that it is making Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)2 standard on a projected one million vehicles sold in the United States for model year 2018, including seven of the company’s most popular models – Rogue/Rogue Sport, Altima, Murano, LEAF, Pathfinder, Maxima and Sentra (except manual transmission-equipped and all NISMO versions).
Other available technologies include Intelligent Around View® Monitor (I-AVM), Intelligent Distance Control (I-DC), Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention (I-BSI), Intelligent Lane Intervention (I-LI) and Intelligent Driver Alertness (I-DA).
In addition to the new Rear Door Alert and standard Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), the 2018 Pathfinder also includes six USB ports as standard, a new Midnight Edition appearance package and two new exterior colors: Scarlet Ember and Midnight Pine. Also, Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC)3 and NissanConnectSM with Navigation and Services are now standard on the Pathfinder SL grade (previously standard only on Platinum grade).
For photography and information about the 2018 Pathfinder and the complete lineup of Nissan vehicles, please visit www.NissanNews.com.
Nissan Intelligent Mobility – building on global progress
The world is facing serious challenges such as air pollution, worsening traffic jams and frequent accidents. Nissan is committed to playing a role in addressing these challenges by making transportation safer, smarter, and more enjoyable, with the ultimate goal of achieving zero-emissions and zero-fatalities. Nissan Intelligent Mobility is the roadmap to achieve this ‘zero-zero’ future.
Guided by the vision of mobility for all, Nissan is democratizing these innovations by bringing them from luxury segments to compact high volume models and ensuring everyone has access to the benefits. Nissan is making cars exciting partners for our customers.
Nissan Intelligent Mobility is not solely focused on autonomous vehicles - it is an initiative to differentiate Nissan by focusing on how our vehicles are driven, powered, and integrated into society. Some of these developments are not in the distant future – they are taking shape in the vehicles we drive today.
About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2016, the company sold 5.63 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.72 trillion yen. Nissan engineers, manufactures and markets the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has a global workforce of 247,500 and has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault under the Renault-Nissan Alliance since 1999. In 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors, which became the third member of the Alliance – a grouping with combined annual sales of almost 10 million units a year.
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About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.