Company working on start button for cars that can tell if you’re tipsy

Lexus Engine Start Button

A supplier based in Auburn Hills is working on a new device that checks a driver’s blood-alcohol level through the skin. The company, Takata, and its partner, TruTouch in Albuquerque, N.M., have received a $2.25 million grand from the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) to make the device commercially available.

The company currently has a breadbox-size device that uses infrared sensor to determine alcohol level. It is now working on a new option that is small enough and cheap enough enough to put on a vehicle’s start button, said Kirk Morris, Takata’s vice president of business development.

Takata is also looking to reduce the processing time from several seconds to 200 milliseconds. It also wants to have to device working temperatures below 40 to 85 degrees with different humidity and vibration levels.

Takata hopes to get the cost down to around $200.

“The goal is to take impaired drivers off the road,” Morris said. “Breathalyzers are invasive. You have to blow into a tube. If this technology is to be used on a daily basis, we want it to be noninvasive, not intrusive. … Drivers pushing a button wouldn’t even know it’s there.”

In 2009, about 11,000 American, were killed in drunken-driving accidents.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Free Press