Nissan’s Rear Door Alert honks the horn if you leave something in the back seat

2017 Nissan Pathfinder
With summer underway, there is increased concern about drivers accidentally leaving small children or pets in the back seat on hot days. Nissan is trying to solve that problem with technology.

Nissan’s Rear Door Alert reminds drivers to check the back seat before walking away from their cars. The system launches next month on the 2018 Pathfinder, which is appropriate enough given that the three-row crossover is a family-oriented vehicle. Nissan plans to offer Rear Door Alert on other models in the future as well.

Rear Door Alert was created by two Nissan engineers who also happen to be mothers: Elsa Foley, an industrial engineer and mother of two, and Marlene Mendoza, a mechanical engineer with three children. They got the idea after Mendoza left a pan of lasagna on the back seat of her car, which made the interior smell for days, Foley said in a Nissan press release.

Concerned about what might happen if more precious cargo were left unattended, Mendoza and Foley designed a system that honks the horn if something is left in the back seat. Nissan claims the honking distinguishes its system from those of other automakers. General Motors, for examples, offers a rear-sear occupancy alert on models like the Chevrolet Equinox.

Nissan’s system works by monitoring when the rear doors are opened or closed. If the doors are opened prior to a trip and not opened again at the end, Rear Door Alert begins sending warnings, starting with a message on the instrument panel, and progressing to the horn. It can be disabled in situations when the driver intends to leave something in the back seat, according to Nissan.

Features like Rear Door Alert could provide parents and pet owners with extra peace of mind. But it’s unclear whether people who are so distracted that they’re capable of ignoring a live human being or animal in the back seat will be prompted to turn around by a warning message and a few beeps of the horn.

Nissan is increasing the amount of safety tech in its vehicles. For the 2018 model year, it will make autonomous emergency braking standard on most of its volume models, including the Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Rogue, Rogue Sport, and Sentra. That does not include manual-transmission and NISMO versions of the latter model.

Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.