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MMW Radar In-Car Driver Monitoring

Tesla's application for using Millimeter Wave (MMW) radar for in-car monitoring has been approved.

Tesla’s request for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve a millimeter-wave sensor for child protection and anti-theft measures has been granted. Along with five other companies, Tesla received “a grant of waivers” on April 14, 2021, that would allow the installation of radar sensors in the 57-64 GHz frequency band in passenger motor vehicles. The system is now likely to contribute to the imminent release of a driver monitoring system, which would keep drivers attentive during the use of the company’s Full Self-Driving suite.

“Tesla identifies some potential use cases—child detection, cabin intrusion, and exterior detection—for which sensing would occur only while the vehicle is stationary; and other use cases—occupant detection and classification—for which the device would sense both while the vehicle is stationary and while in motion; and one use case—driver’s vital signs monitoring—for which the device would sense only while the vehicle is in motion.”

The device, along with the vehicle’s interior cabin camera, will monitor facial features and vital signs to ensure that a driver is paying attention.
  • Informative
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Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
Millimeter wavelength radiation is a subset of the microwave radio frequency spectrum. Even at its high-energy end, it is still more than 3 orders of magnitude lower in energy than its nearest radiotoxic neighbour (ultraviolet) in the electromagnetic spectrum. As such, millimeter wave radiation is non-ionizing and incapable of causing cancers by radiolytic DNA bond cleavage. Due to the shallow penetration depth of millimeter waves into tissue (typically less than 1 mm),[12] acute biological effects of irradiation are localized in epidermal and dermal layers and manifest primarily as thermal effects.[12][13][14][15] There is no clear evidence to date of harmful effects other than those caused by localised heating and ensuing chemical changes (expression of heat shock proteins, denaturation, proteolysis, and inflammatory response, see also mobile phone radiation and health). The energy density required to produce thermal injury in skin is much higher than that typically delivered in an active millimeter wave scanner.


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