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Old 13th September 2007, 09:03   #1
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Default Drunk & Driving? Your car won't start!

Volvo has launched this new device called Alcoguard to curb the alcohol related road mishaps. This should be made mandatory in all calls. works on fuel-cell technology which is expensive but if demand grows then we might see one of these devices in every car. read more here
Volvo Cars is the first car manufacturer to launch an innovative feature aimed at helping to reduce the number of road accidents caused by drink-driving. Alcoguard is a fully integrated in-car alcolock that utilises advanced fuel-cell technology, a solution that is both user-friendly and reliable.

Alcoguard is a tool whose purpose is to help the driver make sober decisions. At present, one in every three traffic fatalities in Europe is alcohol-related. Our three biggest challenges for creating a safer traffic environment are speeding, insufficient safety belt use and drink-driving. The aim of our product is to help reduce the number of accidents caused by vehicles with a drunk driver at the wheel," says Ingrid Skogsmo, director of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

Alcoguard utilises fuel-cell technology - the very same technology that is used by most police forces in Europe. Before the car can be started, the driver has to blow into the wireless hand-held unit. This unit is the size of a small remote control and it is stored and charged in a compartment behind the centre console. The driver's breath is analysed in the hand-held unit which then transmits the results via radio signal to the car's electronic control system. If the blood-alcohol limit of 0.2 g/l is exceeded, the engine will not start. Thanks to advanced sensors, it is not possible to use external air sources such as a pump to cheat the system.

Alcoguard will be available as an option on the Volvo S80, V70 and XC70 from the start of 2008, and by next summer it will also be available on the company's smaller car models. Sales of about two thousand units are expected a year, and this figure is expected to increase as time goes by. Sweden is today the biggest market for alcolocks but Volvo Cars will also offer the system in the rest of Europe and in the USA. The company-car sector, taxi operators, state authorities and municipalities will probably be the foremost customer groups, although the enhanced user-friendliness means that private car owners will also be potential customers.

David Nilsson, Technical Project Manager for Alcoguard at Volvo Cars, says that fuel cell technology is prime for breathalyzers. "Fuel-cell technology is more expensive but it also produces far better results. Unlike semi-conductors, for instance, fuel-cells only react to ethanol and nothing else. In the fuel-cell, the ethanol molecules pass through a sensitive membrane and an electrical current is generated. This current is then measured. Higher current means more alcohol in the driver's breath," he said in a release. Whaddya know, ethanol and fuel cells in an AutoblogGreen post, but neither is mentioned in the way you'd think.
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Old 13th September 2007, 11:17   #2
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Step in the right direction, but still not an absolute solution. In India, anyone can make the watchman / paanwala / valet guy blow in to start the car. And then drive away themselves.

It has to be something smarter.
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Old 5th December 2013, 18:53   #3
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Default Technology to curb drunk driving


...alcohol consumption could be detected as soon the driver touches the steering or takes breath inside and the vehicle won't start.
Some comments:

- Why would a car owner pay for such a feature? If he is not a drinker, he wouldn't need it and if he is, he wouldn't want it!

- If it is mandated by law, it can be installed, but then so are seat belts. Do not recollect seeing a feature where, if seat belt is not fastened the car won't start at all.

- Finally, people might easily find ways to disable the safety mechanism. After all it's their vehicle.

- A prominent warning (rather than vehicle lockout, just like seat belts) might be a better idea.
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Old 5th December 2013, 19:07   #4
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Default Re: Technology to curb drunk driving

Originally Posted by mayuresh View Post
I saw something like this in a sitcom called Scrubs where the cops install this "blow to check your alcohol content" machine after the lead actor was arrested for DUI.

IMHO, not sure how much this will work here. A responsible driver will never think about driving after drinking. People in the other category will always find a loophole or as you mentioned, disable this. Well, thats why they belong in that category.
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Old 5th December 2013, 22:19   #5
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Default Re: Technology to curb drunk driving

hey, what happens if this equipment smells alcohol from the passenger but wrongly identifies that the driver is drunk?? I don't think going by smell from breathe would be the right detection technique. And how can steering wheel touch detect this?
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Old 6th December 2013, 06:59   #6
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Default Re: Technology to curb drunk driving

In several countries alcohol locks could be mandated by court order to be installed in the car.

I found this that shows a bit more detail on how it works, note that you have to keep blowing into the thing during the journey.


Here's another interesting article that also mentioned the effectiveness of these alcohol locks. Apparently it is pretty effective in preventing drink driving recidivism!

Large scale quantitative research on alcohol ignition interlocks in use has shown that alcohol interlocks are 40 to 95 percent more effective in preventing drink driving recidivism than traditional measures such as license withdrawal or fines [45]. A literature review (UK Department for Transport, 2004) showed a recidivism reduction of about 28-65% in the period where the alcohol interlock is installed compared with the control groups who were not using the alcohol interlock. An EU study indicated that alcohol interlocks need to be fitted permanently to have an effect, for after removal of the lock recidivism increases again [5]. Alcohol interlocks clearly have an important role to play within rehabilitation programmes.

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Old 6th December 2013, 21:11   #7
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Default Re: Technology to curb drunk driving

Originally Posted by mayuresh View Post
- Finally, people might easily find ways to disable the safety mechanism. After all it's their vehicle.

- .
One of the drivers in my office,(We have large fleet of buses and Light vehicles) got a metal clip made, just like the one with the seatbelt, to be put in the slot for the seat belt so that the indicator will not blink!
That much he hates wearing seat belt! What to do with such people? And once you board his vehicle, even if you are an athiest, you will immediately be converted into a firm believer in divine intervention! Such is his driving style!
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