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.