• Sep 29, 2011
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that two companies have joined forces to create a push-to-start button that can automatically sense the driver's blood-alcohol level. Takata, an Auburn Hills-based parts supplier and TruTouch, an Albuquerque-based firm, have received a $2.25 million grant from the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety to help make the creation commercially viable.

Currently, the device is about the size of a bread box and uses an infrared sensor to determine the amount of alcohol in a person's system. In addition, the invention currently takes several seconds to function and only works accurately at room temperature.

The ACTS grant should help both Takata and TruTouch work through those issues to create a version of the technology that could conceivably fit behind a vehicle's start button, take just a few milliseconds to determine someone's BAC and be able to accurately do so in temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. There's also the equally challenging feat of getting the device's total cost down to around $200 per unit. The idea is to take the invasiveness of a Breathalyzer out of the equation while still preventing impaired drivers from taking to the road.


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  • 30 Comments
      DC Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      It would be more helpful if they had a button that detected whether or not you knew the basic rules of eff'ing driving.
        jbm0866
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DC Mike
        Such a thing would solve all traffic congestion issues where I live....the roads would be practically deserted!
      scotchquach
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well you can always just press the start button with something besides your finger. It wouldn't detect it then, right? Like a pen...or a stick...or a beer bottle.
      ybkrazy
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they want to cut down on the problem of people using sober people to start the car, maybe make the steering wheel test the alcohol level continuously. That way you either have to have a sober person drive or hold on to the wheel the entire time.
      BLS
      • 3 Years Ago
      Doesn't solve the problem of "Hey buddy! Would you mind pressing this button for me?"
        jbm0866
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BLS
        Or chronic drunks always keeping a glove handy inside the car..
          SheldonRoss
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jbm0866
          First thought that jumped into my head also. Pull you sleeve over your hand, put a piece of paper in front of it. Put a piece of tape over the button itself....
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jbm0866
          Right, because drunks are going to remember to put on a glove to bypass the system.
          cornellboot
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jbm0866
          My iPhone won't work with gloves on, I don't see why they couldn't just use the same capitative touch technology to the button so that it required an actual finger to function. That does make it a pain though to start up in cold weather, having to take your gloves off to turn on your car. The other problem I see is having any alcohol based cleaners/etc or even women who use certain nail polishes setting off the sensor. Not to mention the sensor malfunctioning, thereby leaving you stranded without any chance to get your car started. Great intent, nearly impossible execution.
        DC Mike
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BLS
        Or gloves.
        Enrique Caceres
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BLS
        Dude i was thinking the same thing lol
      Rob
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't drink, so this better never be standard (everyone pays it for it) equipment. I'll keep my current cars in that case.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Actionable Mango
        • 3 Years Ago
        The vast majority of the crap in your car isn't for the nanny state, they are features to help sell the car. Maybe the first airbag is required, but the other 5 aren't.
      LUSTSTANG S-197
      • 3 Years Ago
      And if you're drunk, what does it do? Lock you inside and notify the police immediately? LOL
      BMW ROCKS!
      • 3 Years Ago
      if my cars gonna be my nanny it better learns how to blow me as well
      SPF
      • 3 Years Ago
      If someone wants to cheat the system they can. But for 99% of people who didn't think they were over the limit but were, this could save their lives, other lives, save jail time and money. Who wouldn't be for this technology? It doesn't say it would stop your car, so maybe it would just alert you...
      anonymous guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      So, if a driver is drunk, They throw on a pair of gloves or use something other than their finger (pen, pencil, etc.) to start the vehicle. System defeated.
      The_Zachalope
      • 3 Years Ago
      "only works accurately at room temperature." Well, good thing it never gets cold during winter!
      Frank
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I am drunk, I will have someone else push the button. However, it would better apply if the technology existed solely in the steering wheel.
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