Honda, Hitachi develops ingenious portable alcohol detector

Honda, Hitachi develops ingenious portable alcohol detector image

Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: | posted March 31, 2016 09:35

Prototype is tamper-resistant and has ignition interlock capability

Breathalyzers or breath alcohol analyzers are slowly becoming more sophisticated and foolproof, thanks to stricter legislation versus drunk driving and efforts by automakers to make the road and their vehicles safer.

The latest portable alcohol detector is the product of close collaboration between Honda and Hitachi. This prototype was developed to be tamper-resistant, can be affixed into a vehicle’s keyfob to activate ignition interlock and can accurately measure blood-alcohol level within 3 seconds after a driver breathes into the device.

A companion system has also been developed that will show the result from the portable alcohol detector on a vehicle’s display panel, which can be useful in law enforcement.

This new device, compared to current alcohol detectors being used by transportation operators in Japan that require them to use it once they get on the driver’s seat, will allow the driver to test their blood-alcohol level before they enter the vehicle. This way the temptation to drive is reduced and/or the system, depending on the settings, may lock the vehicle or the ignition.

Also, to prevent tampering, developers have made this prototype smarter. This portable alcohol detector will be able to detect whether is the gas it is analyzing is human exhaled breath while also calculating its alcohol level. This is an added layer of protection in order to greatly reduce instances of drunk driving.