Nissan is taking driver safety to new levels with the unveiling of DUI prevention technology featured in a new concept car. The vehicle contains several types of sensors that detect the presence of alcohol, the drowsiness of the driver, and any erratic driving patterns.
A highly sensitive alcohol sensor built into the transmission shift knob is able to detect the presence of alcohol in the driver’s palm sweat when they grasp the knob. The transmission will lock, immobilizing the vehicle if the alcohol detected in the sweat meets a pre-designated level. The vehicle will also be equipped with sensors located in the driver’s and passenger’s seat to detect the presence of alcohol in the air. If alcohol is detected in the cabin of the vehicle, a voice alert will notify the driver and a message will appear on the navigation monitor.
In addition to preventing DUIs, the new concept car also seeks to prevent accidents that are the result of drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel. The vehicle is also equipped with a camera located within the dashboard instruments that monitors the driver’s face. The camera is programmed to detect drowsiness based on the blinking of the driver’s eyes. If the camera detects excessive blinking, a voice and navigation message will be triggered. Additionally, the seatbelt will tighten around the driver to gain his or her attention.
The car is also designed to detect erratic driving patterns that may be the result of drunk driving or drowsy driving. Similar to the detection of excessive blinking, when erratic driving patterns are detected, a voice and navigation message will be triggered and the seatbelt will tighten around the driver to grab his or her immediate attention.
Who knows if and when the new technology will be available in consumer cars. More importantly, who know if and how effective the new technology will be in reducing drunk driving and/or drowsy driving. One thing’s for certain: we can all use more DUI preventative measures… even if it is your car telling you that you’re too drunk to drive.