Japanese carmaker Nissan is developing a new car with breathalyzer-like detection systems to help stop drinking and driving.
Nissan’s alcohol-detection sensors check odor, sweat and driver alertness to keep the alcohol-impaired off the road.
Odor sensors on the driver and passenger seats read alcohol levels, issuing a voice alert on the navigation system and locking up the ignition if needed.
Another high-sensitivity alcohol sensor in the gear shift knob measures perspiration on the driver’s palm when trying to start the car.
Nissan technology chief Kazuhiro Doi says the car is still in development, but a facial monitoring system will also keep an eye on who’s behind the wheel.
[Kazuhiro Doi, General Manager Technology, Nissan Motors]:
“We’ve placed odor-detectors in the car and sweat-sensor on the gear shift, but in addition to these, for example if the gear shift sensor was bypassed by a passenger using it instead of the driver, the facial recognition system would act as a back up.”
A mounted camera monitors driver alertness by an eye scan, responding with bells and a voice message if it’s time to pull over and have a rest.
The driver’s seatbelt will also tighten to gain immediate attention, while an on-road failsafe is a sensor that monitors if a car is wobbling out of its lane.
Warnings and lockdowns come in English as well as Japanese.
Nissan intends to drive this technology to global markets in the next few years, looking to reduce the number of fatalities in its automobiles by half by 2015.