Japanese car company Nissan has unveiled a concept car which won’t move if the driver is over the alcohol limit.
The car is fitted with various sensors including a hi-sensitivity alcohol odour sensor built into the transmission shift knob.
This detects the presence of alcohol in perspiration on the driver’s palm and automatically locks the transmission and immobilises the car when the level is above a pre-determined limit.
A ‘drunk driving’ voice alert is also issued via the car navigation system.
Additional alcohol odour sensors are also built into the driver and passenger seats to detect the presence of alcohol in the air inside the vehicle cabin.
The system issues both a voice alert and a message alert on the navigation system monitor when alcohol is detected.
Other features include a camera mounted on the instrument panel to monitor the driver’s face.
The system assesses the driver’s state of consciousness through the blinking of the eyes and sends out voice and message alerts when it detects signs of drowsiness.
At the same time a seat-belt mechanism is activated which tightens around the driver to gain his or her immediate attention.
The system can also monitor driver behaviour, for example, if the car veers out of its driving lane.
If this happens voice and message alerts are issued via the navigation system and the seat-belt alert mechanism is also activated.
Nissan has developed the car to showcase technologies that could potentially be applied in future production cars.
Which? Motoring Editor Richard Headland said: ‘Drivers may think such technology sounds rather ‘Big Brother’ but if it has the potential to stop deaths from drink-driving, it should be welcomed.
‘Saab has also developed an ‘alco-key’ which does a similar job, so it seems likely we’ll see such technology on some new cars before too long.’