Hitachi and Honda develop breathalyser key that won’t permit drunk-driving

Published 29 March 2016

Hitachi and Honda have developed a prototype breathalyser that can be integrated into a smart key. A production version of the key could be linked to a car’s ignition system, meaning the driver would have to be below the preset alcohol limit before the vehicle could be started.

The prototype takes three seconds to detect the level of alcohol in breath using three different sensor types for better accuracy. It can also detect whether or not the sample provided is definitely from a human being, based on its detection of the moisture present in typical human breath.

Though the system isn’t particularly useful to private drivers, it will be to commercial fleet operators concerned about duty of care for their drivers and other road users. Honda and Hitachi are currently working towards commercialising the technology, though it remains unclear when a production-ready version will be available. 

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