The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety for Safety (DADSS) is researching technology that would disable vehicles when an intoxicated driver enters the vehicle. The new blood alcohol sensors are both breath-based and touch-based, according to Daily Mail. The breath-based blood alcohol sensors have the ability to measure the amount of alcohol molecules in the driver’s breath. The touch-based blood alcohol sensors can actually measure the amount of alcohol in the driver’s blood by using near-infrared tissue spectroscopy. This technology is reportedly being used by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a “world without drunk driving.”
The new technology is so advanced that it not only detects when driving-age adults enter a vehicle with a BAC of.08, which is the national level limit, it also will cause a vehicle to completely power down if an under-21 driver enters with even a drop of alcohol in their system. The research has been ongoing since 2008, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has since published the results of each research phase.
In Phase I, the NHTSA reported that “Research and analysis of two different technological approaches to measuring driver alcohol levels — a touch-based approach allowing assessment of alcohol in human tissue and a breath-based approach allowing assessment of alcohol concentration in the driver’s exhaled breath focused on speed, accuracy and precision. Completed 2011.” In Phase II, is was reported that the NHTSA performed “additional research and testing of touch-based and breath-based sensors to improve accuracy and precision performance, and decrease measurement time to meet or exceed DADSS performance specifications.” After this testing, prototypes of the touch-based and breath-based alcohol sensor will be placed into a test vehicle and is expected to be completed in 2016. Finally, the last phase will involve further research to make the technology more refined. This advancement will ensure that the sensors have the ability to understand human interactions.
Even with the apparent success of the research so far, the NHTSA has released a disclaimer with information that the technology is still in its infancy, even after seven years of testing.
“While the technology is estimated to have the potential to save thousands of lives per year, the research is still in the early phases of development. In order to be considered for widespread deployment, the DADSS technology must be seamless, accurate, and precise, and unobtrusive to the sober driver. It must also be proven reliable to be installed in the vehicle fleet and publically favorable.”
See video of the new blood alcohol technology in action.
[Image via DADSS]