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Car occupant / temperature window-roller-downer thingy

Prevent needless heat death accidents
  (+6)
(+6)
  [vote for,
against]

This would be an unadvertised feature (important for reasons described later) of an automobile that would sense the presence of passengers, interior temperatures, and vehicle parked time, and take action if dangerous temperature conditions occured inside the vehicle, by rolling down the windows, initiating a call to the vehicle's telematics provider and nearest available security as well as owner phone app, and if running, starting the air conditioning and/or fan.

Unadvertised because we don't want parents to be relying on this feature to babysit their kids while they shop.

RayfordSteele, Aug 06 2012

So, I submitted the idea to the BrightIdea website... https://lmco.bright...-B902-ED0D4DB02D55}
[RayfordSteele, Aug 15 2012]

[link]






       [+] good idea in rough, but in real life it wouldn't be too long before the "mechanic killed by secret "feature"' headline.   

       Perhaps the "babysit" feature should be considered: a button (pushed before the ignition key is removed) starts up a basic monitor for temperature, intrusion attempts, decibel level, etc. with a limited choice of automatic responses.
FlyingToaster, Aug 06 2012
  

       I wouldn't have the car start up.   

       I wouldn't want to advertise it as a 'babysit' feature, either. People should never leave their infants in their cars and it is not a babysitter. Choice here should not be in the hands of the owner, because it usually would be the owner that is the guilty party in negligence. I worry that the unintended consequence of this feature would be more kids and dogs sitting in hot cars, and so using it would have to invoke some sort of serious penalty.
RayfordSteele, Aug 06 2012
  

       I like this. I understand the "unintended consequences" concern but I think they'd be counteracted by having a warning saying "Don't leave anything alive in the car or it may end up dead no matter how we try to idiot proof this thing." or words to that effect.   

       You'd have to make sure thieves couldn't trigger the motion sensor through the windows though.
doctorremulac3, Aug 06 2012
  

       This could be easily solved by having a few narrow, rain- shielded vents that automatically open when the interior tempurature reaches a certain point. Some would be near the floor, others along the roofline, to utilize natural airflow. They wouldn't have to be much wider than 1/4" or so, if there were enough of them. They could be controlled by a manual thermostat, so they'd still open if the battery was dead.
Alterother, Aug 06 2012
  

       Well, that depends... Is the source internal or external?
Alterother, Aug 06 2012
  

       There are enough warnings about cars that are ignored already. Have you peeked at an owner's manual lately? Adding more is almost counterproductive.   

       Having subtly-hidden vents that open would an interesting execution of the idea; keeping the feature hidden from the owner might reduce idiots' reliance upon it.
RayfordSteele, Aug 07 2012
  

       A bun simply for vagueness in title.   

       Erm, surely the obvious solution is some kind of a secure pergola on the roof, then place things likely to get overheated there. Optional tinkling fountain and goldfish.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 08 2012
  

       If it fails and a pet/child/senior dies, is the car manufacturer liable?
tatterdemalion, Aug 08 2012
  

       //If it fails and a pet/child/senior dies, is the car manufacturer liable?   

       I think the victim would be regarded as an after-market accessory, and so not a part of the car warranty.   

       Successful litigation could be taken at the designer of the aforementioned victim, god willing.   

       I warn you now, this kind of litigation for damages is invariably tortuous.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 08 2012
  

       //If it fails and a pet/child/senior dies, is the car manufacturer liable?//   

       Yes. If it can be shown to have failed in any reasonably expected use or misuse. Where it becomes decidedly more gray is if it does not fail, but the pet/child/senior dies anyway.   

       Or, if, say the battery goes flat beforehand.   

       Perhaps the best course of action would be for the vehicle to place a call to emergency services and/or the telematics provider, who could then take appropriate action remotely; roll the windows down, honk the horn, etc.
RayfordSteele, Aug 08 2012
  

       //There are enough warnings about cars that are ignored already. Have you peeked at an owner's manual lately? Adding more is almost counterproductive. Having subtly-hidden vents that open would an interesting execution of the idea; keeping the feature hidden from the owner might reduce idiots' reliance upon it,//   

       For this to work the windows would all have to roll down, vents wouldn't do anything assuming you're using the same vents that are used for the a/c and heater even if they were greatly enlarged.   

       I wouldn't put the warning in the manual, I'd put it on the windows and say "You leave the car with something alive in it, the windows may roll down allowing things to get stolen."   

       Then it's not about saving lives, it's about saving property from theft which would really get people's attention.   

       You'd also need that as a disclaimer shown clearly in the car saying this may or may not happen or else the lawyers would have a feeding frenzy the first time it didn't work. People might even think their car had this feature when it didn't. It's that "Don't underestimate people's stupidity" thing.
doctorremulac3, Aug 08 2012
  

       Nope, my money is still on the pergola.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 08 2012
  

       // "You leave the car with something alive in it, the windows may roll down allowing things to get stolen."   

       ... allowing your pitbull to get out and attack children in the mall parking lot.
tatterdemalion, Aug 08 2012
  

       Does anyone know how many babies and/or pets die in overheated cars per annum?
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 08 2012
  

       No, but hum a few bars and I'll try to join in.
doctorremulac3, Aug 08 2012
  

       I personally always stick by those words of wisdom I found long ago, written on the boxes of matches, "Keep away from children".   

       Admittedly it also usually says "Strike anywhere" which is I believe incitement to break the law on wildcat picketing in the UK. Just goes to show you can't believe everything you read.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 09 2012
  

       'No, but hum a few bars and I'll try to join in' - one of those things you read that you feel oh so guilty for letting it make you laugh.
Phrontistery, Aug 09 2012
  

       461 kids since 1998 in the US alone.
RayfordSteele, Aug 09 2012
  

       Another approach would be to have weight sensors on the seats that wouldn't allow the doors to be closed if something child/dog weight or above was in the car while no keys were in the ignition.   

       People wouldn't be able to keep things on their seats though so maybe not.
doctorremulac3, Aug 09 2012
  

       Rather than a complicated system that sense passengers, why not an “always on” one that keeps the car a safe temperature at all times? Oven-hot temperatures are bad for more than babies, dogs, etc – they degrade and can damage the car interior itself, and much stuff commonly kept in it.   

       Such a system was sold as an option beginning with the 2010 (perhaps earlier) Toyota Prius. Called the “solar ventilation system”, it’s available in the Prius only as part of its “solar roof package”. It consists of a roof-mounted solar panel that powers an electric fan that draws outside air into the car interior when its thermostat reads above 68 F.   

       Oddly (and badly), The Prius’s system not a true always on system, but is turned on and off with a push-to-toggle panel switch (you could put a cage over the switch, but folk who think to do this seem the least likely to need it), so it’s possible to accidentally turn it off and tragically bake a dog, baby, or what have you. Worse, the feature is bundled with such things as a moonroof, HUD, navigation system and XM radio, and available only in specific models for +US$3,000.   

       On can buy a portable window-hung solar air cooler for about $20, but given their tiny solar panel compared to the Prius’s, and its lack of always-on (portable, not something you’d want hanging on your window all the time), they’re not a good solution to the deadly problem being addressed.   

       It seems to me that a small stroke of the legislative pen could require an always on solar vent system into all new cars, without increasing their cost by more than $200, and giving a nice, big market boost to solar panel makers. Time to petitions our government representatives, perhaps?
CraigD, Aug 10 2012
  

       Well, if we're going to get that serious, let's take it to it's logical conclusion.   

       When the temperature in the car rises above a given level, small explosive devices remove a window.   

       Oh, and welcome to the halfbakery, [CraigD]. By any chance do you have a brother by the name of Mike?
normzone, Aug 10 2012
  

       //When the temperature in the car rises above a given level, small explosive devices remove a window//   

       Why small?
doctorremulac3, Aug 10 2012
  

       Craig, that's a good point.   

       I'd suspect the reason that the Prius system is not always on is because the solar system would not provide enough power.
RayfordSteele, Aug 14 2012
  
      
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