VIDEO: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Introduces Audible Rear Door Alert
Distinctive Horn Chirps Remind Driver to Check Back Seat Before Leaving
Nissan will offer the 2018 Pathfinder with Rear Door Alert, an innovative rear-seat reminder, an idea proposed by two company engineers who are also mothers.
The company says Elsa Foley, an industrial engineer, and Marlene Mendoza, a mechanical engineer, first proposed the idea after Marlene discovered she’d left a pan of lasagna in her back seat overnight after a long day of work. "The worst thing was the car smelled for days,” said Elsa. “But it made me ask myself, 'What if that had been something else back there?'"
The project quickly moved from proposal to full development, with Rear Door Alert reaching production this September on the 2018 Pathfinder SUV. Using a set of programming that recognizes when a rear door was opened before a trip, but not after. The system first notifies the driver via a display on the instrument panel, then through subtle chirps of the horn.
"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 you to think for a moment about what you may have put in the back seat."
Already in 2017, 29 children have died as a result of heatstroke from hot cars, and Nissan’s Rear Door Alert and similar systems might help prevent such occurrences in the future. Rear Door Alert might also be helpful in keeping a watchful eye on pets and even help drivers remember to take their gym bags inside after a sweaty workout. Nissan also allows owners to temporarily or permanently disable the horn chirps or the whole alert system altogether.
Nissan expects Rear Door Alert to roll out to other model lines in the coming years.