If one is drunk, he is drunk. And driving can be dangerous in many ways: getting behind the wheel or activating an "autopilot" on a car, without having the ability to cope with any problems. The car has not yet achieved level 5 autonomous driving (and I suspect that it will succeed within the year, as Elon Musk said), but in the meantime you need to learn not to let those who are unable to do it guide.
In the US, a provision is being discussed in recent weeks that makes it mandatory for cars in the future to have advanced technology for the prevention of drunk driving. A car with a built-in alcohol meter? Yes sir.
What makes this bill interesting is its practical tenor. 2027 is actually set as the year for its implementation, and it is a fairly close year. It would not be an alcohol meter to be added to old models, but to a device that would be installed by law already in the normal production process.
A goal pursued for more than 10 years
The foundations for the development of a similar technology began in 2008, when the agency publishes National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined ACTS, an organization that brings together the most important auto manufacturers. Together, they began working to prevent the more than 10.000 deaths in the US (and 25.000 in Europe!) From drunk driving accidents. To make the car a walking alcohol meter, therefore, a project called DADSS, Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.
The program explores two different technologies to build an on-board alcohol meter capable of detecting the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in drivers using non-invasive methods.
Two technologies being studied for the "on-board" alcohol meter
In the first, a touch sensor installed in multiple places in the car, including of course the starter button and the steering wheel. It would cause an infrared light to shine under the driver's skin, “reading” the presence of alcohol in the blood.
In the second, a sensor samples the air particles from the driver's breath, just like a normal alcohol meter does. The program aims to develop a system that is sensitive enough to be able to determine whether the breath is coming from the driver or the passengers of the car.
How's the program going?
In a announcement made in June, DADSS confirmed that its studies are moving from laboratory testing to real-world testing. The first generation system will be available later this year, and adapted to vehicles. The "alpha" alcohol meter will be able to detect up to 0,04% blood alcohol and it will work in strict pass / fail mode,
stopping the vehicle completely, if alcohol is detected in the breath beyond the limit.
Its general purpose system is currently undergoing human testing and should be available by 2024, in time for the provisions envisaged by the legislation. This on-board alcohol meter and other advances make it reasonable to expect the number of drunk driving accidents to decrease in the future.