Harman acquires Caaresys, life-saving in-car sensing tech

Harman International, the Samsung subsidiary traditionally known for its expertise in audio entertainment technology, is becoming more of a force in connected car technologies, the latest evidence being Harman’s announcement this week that it acquired Caaresys, a company that uses radar sensing to monitor vehicle passengers.

Caaresys, based in Israel, was described in a statement from Harman as developer of “ vehicle passenger monitoring systems powered by contactless, low-emission radar. Caaresys has successfully partnered with leading OEMs and provides a mass production solution for cabin monitoring including vital signs sensing, passenger localization and Child Presence Detection (CPD).”

The organization Kids and Cars has noted that in-vehicle occupant detection technology could help save lives as the issue of children being left in hot cars continues to be a tragic problem.

The technology provided by Caaresys would appear to augment what Harman already offers in terms of automotive in-cabin monitoring systems, though Harman’s description of its current systems describes them as leveraging camera-based sensing. One benefit of radar-based sensing is that it can detection human (or pet) vehicle occupants that may be out of a camera’s view.

Vayyar, Infineon and ON Semiconductor are some of the other companies working on the in-cabin monitoring space.

Caaresys says its RF radar is small and can be placed anywhere in a vehicle cabin to use a radar signal processing algorithm and  biometrics to detect the location, health condition and state of each vehicle occupant, providing data such passenger respiration rate, heart rate and heart rate variability while vehicles are in static or driving mode.

“With the acquisition of Caaresys, we gain market-leading in-cabin radar sensing technology and radar-enabled features that can quickly integrate into our products,” said Christian Sobottka, President, Automotive Division, Harman, in a statement. “And by partnering with HARMAN, automakers can deliver the key safety and well-being features that consumers demand – today as opposed to years from now.”

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Caaresys employees, which number fewer than 10, according to a Times of Israel story, will join Harman’s automotive unit. Harman, which was acquired by Samsung in 2016 as that company sought to push into the connected car market, has a growing presence in Israel, where it previously acquired three other autotech companies–iOnRoad, Red Bend Software, TowerSec Automotive Cybersecurity, according to the same Times of Israel story.