Reverse Alert is described by its inventors as “a world first automatic braking system” that can be used on any vehicle, new or old, and is designed to prevent car accidents in which children could be injured when the vehicle is backing up. As Sally Rose writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australia-based company Auto Innovations Group has already gotten a patent in the United States for its product.
The company is going public to raise $10 million to increase production, Rose writes. A number of its early backers have been personally touched by the death of a child as a result of a backup accident, she adds. Although newer vehicles often have rear-view camera systems and alarms to prevent back-up accidents, Reverse Alert goes further with its automatic braking system, she reports.
A number of the existing shareholders have killed their own child in a reversing accident, or know a close friend or family member who has.
‘We are not people who are really into investing but we wanted to lend our support to help get this technology to market,’ Emma Cockburn said. Mrs Cockburn’s 15-month-old daughter Georgina was killed after her husband Peter did not see her when reversing his builders trailer into the family garage.
The Reverse Alert system is activated when a vehicle is in reverse gear, turning on the sensors and the camera, according to an Auto Innovations Group video about Reverse Alert. When the vehicle detects an object at 1.6 meters (5.25 feet), a signal is sent to the vehicle, causing the brakes to immediately be applied, as the video explains.
In the system’s “Park” mode, the brakes are automatically applied when a driver is backing up closer than 40 centimeters (15.7 inches) to an object. A driver would select the system’s “Override” mode when he or she needs to disengage the automatic braking system, for example when connecting the vehicle to a trailer. The video suggests that a driver wanting to connect a vehicle to a trailer first use Park mode and then use Override.
Reverse Alert works with or without a backup camera, and the camera is provided as an option, according to Reverse Alert’s Frequently Asked Questions page. Reverse Alert is a stand-alone system, and does not conflict with backup cameras that may already be in vehicles. The system takes three to three and a half hours to install, and is considered an aftermarket item.
Here is a video about Reverse Alert: