Asahi Kasei’s breakthrough chip: Revolutionizing baby detection in cars

In a technological leap aimed at enhancing child safety, Asahi Kasei has unveiled the AK5818 chip, designed to significantly improve the detection of babies left unattended in cars.

Asahi Kasei, a pioneering force in technological innovation, has achieved a significant breakthrough with the development of the AK5818 chip, a cutting-edge solution set to redefine child safety in vehicles. Crafted by the company’s subsidiary, Asahi Kasei Microdevices, this revolutionary chip employs millimetre waves to detect objects, and in particular, it excels in distinguishing between people and objects. Notably, it boasts an impressive 75% increase in accuracy compared to existing products, marking a milestone in the realm of automotive safety.

The AK5818 chip is not merely a technological marvel; it is a response to a critical need in contemporary society. With instances of accidental deaths caused by children left unattended in cars becoming a global concern, this chip stands as a beacon of hope, offering a solution to a problem that has plagued societies worldwide.

Canadian startup Pontosense has played a pivotal role in the development of this groundbreaking chip, contributing its expertise in detection methods. The collaborative effort has resulted in a chip that goes beyond conventional capabilities, not only identifying shapes but also capturing nuanced movements, such as the subtle breathing patterns of infants.

As global awareness of child safety in vehicles grows, regulatory bodies are enacting stringent measures. European auto safety ratings will soon include assessments of whether vehicles are equipped with sensors to detect children left behind. Similarly, Japan mandates the installation of safety equipment in buses transporting children. The global market for such detection systems is projected to witness astronomical growth, reaching $83.13 billion by 2030, according to research company Global Information.

Asahi Kasei aims to showcase its groundbreaking AK5818 chip at CES, the renowned consumer technology trade show in Las Vegas. The chip’s unveiling comes with the hope of making a lasting impression on automakers and related suppliers. With the European and Japanese markets enforcing stricter regulations, Asahi Kasei’s innovative chip is not just a technological advancement but a strategic move to meet the evolving demands of the automotive industry.

While U.S. and European chipmakers currently dominate the market for chips designed to detect infants left in vehicles, Asahi Kasei sees an opportunity to leverage its sensing technologies. The company plans to triple sales of related products from the fiscal year 2023 level by fiscal 2030, tapping into the projected growth of the millimeter-wave detection technology market.

Beyond its application in automotive safety, Asahi Kasei envisions a broader spectrum of use for the AK5818 chip. The company sees potential in incorporating the chip into senior monitoring systems, extending its impact beyond the realm of child safety and into broader applications that enhance the well-being of individuals across different age groups.

As we witness the unveiling of the AK5818 chip, it’s not just a new product introduction; it’s a stride towards a safer, technologically advanced future, where innovation meets the critical needs of society.