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Nissan Turns to Technology to Stop Drunk Driving

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the couldn't-hurt-i-guess dept.

Technology 287

StonyandCher writes with a ComputerWorld story about new efforts by Nissan to reduce the danger of intoxicated drinkers through technology. A trio of new features installed in a prototype vehicle demonstrated this past week are designed to minimize the damage a drunk behind the wheel can cause. "The first [system] attempts to directly detect alcohol in the driver's sweat and gear shift lever. A second system in the car uses a camera mounted in front of the driver to monitor eye movement. If the driver is drowsy it triggers the seat belt to tighten and this movement will hopefully snap the driver out of their drowsiness or prompt them to take a rest. A third system monitors the path of the vehicle to ensure it's traveling in a straight line and not weaving about the road, as is common with a drunken driver."

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To Prank Your Friends with this System... (2, Insightful)

DontScotty (978874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118249)

... is to swab the gearshift sensor with alcohol - and TA DA; no car for you!

Better idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118293)

I am drunk off Johnnie Walker whiskey right now, and I am not going anywhere. I would rather be out with friends, but I am not going to risk others' safety.

What happened to personal responsibility, Renault?

Uh........Moderators!?!?!?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118317)

I think that this would be an incredible time to mod the parent UPPITY.

Re:Better idea... (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118331)

Uh, yeah because drunk people are noted as the epitome of personal responsibility ;-)

GREAT IDEA! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118389)

Lick my balls. Lick them very well. They will be your last meal before I stab you in the jugular with my long, erect, hardened penis.

Mandatory? (2, Insightful)

icydog (923695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118257)

I really hope this doesn't ever become mandatory in new vehicles in the future. I don't want to pay $2000 extra for my car when I don't drink. But if it's not made mandatory, who would buy it?

Re:Mandatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118371)

What do you mean "who would buy it" voluntarily? Probably lots of people. I think it's a great idea. I often find myself driving home on weekends not really sure if I'm over the limit (I probably am) or not. It would be nice to have something like this to help alert me if I'm actually not sober enough to drive.

If it's voluntary, optional, and if it can be disabled (in case it's registering too many false positives), I think it's an interesting feature worth looking at.

Re:Mandatory? (3, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118533)

What do you mean "who would buy it" voluntarily? Probably lots of people. I think it's a great idea. I often find myself driving home on weekends not really sure if I'm over the limit (I probably am) or not. It would be nice to have something like this to help alert me if I'm actually not sober enough to drive.

Buy yourself a portable breathalyzer [amazon.com] if you're not able to control your drinking. Not only will it let you know if you're too impaired to drive, it can also be great fun at parties. The person with the highest BAC wins! As a bonus, a portable breathalyzer can be used with any vehicle, and will likely cost much less than what Nissan will charge for this.

Re:Mandatory? (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119037)

Fuck you.

Re:Mandatory? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118377)

I really hope this doesn't ever become mandatory in new vehicles in the future. I don't want to pay $2000 extra for my car when I don't drink. But if it's not made mandatory, who would buy it?

People found guilty of DUI?

In fact, I've seen ignition interlocks where the driver has to blow a breathalyzer before the car will start.

Re:Mandatory? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118427)

I've seen ignition interlocks where the driver has to blow a breathalyzer before the car will start.


I've seen balloons, blown up before the drinking.

Re:Mandatory? (5, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118681)

Wow, just wow...

That's like, premeditated fucktardery...

Re:Mandatory? (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118969)

What, do you think all those people driving when they're too drunk to walk are unaware that they're over the limit, or that all of them had rides that died on the way to the party?

Re:Mandatory? (5, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118399)

But if it's not made mandatory, who would buy it?

Companies.

We've been trialling a system which uses special glasses to monitor the eye movements of dump truck drivers in open cut mining. The goal is to identify impairment - not just drugs and alcohol, but fatigue, illness or anything which might affect the operator's ability to control the vehicle.

In the system we use, the monitoring computer has a three-stage alarm, first notifying the driver and their supervisor of the potential for impairment, second stage suggesting that the operator park up at first opportunity, and in the third stage, loud alarms in both the truck and control room. Third stage also throttles back the truck.

Fully loaded, these trucks mass in excess of 400 tonnes, so any accident is going to be significant. How valuable it will be to transfer the technology to cars is uncertain, but I'd say there are plenty of circumstances where the consequences outweigh the costs, even for small vehicles.

Re:Mandatory? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118435)

Well let's see, if you wash your hands with alcohol based waterless cleaners or don't look around enough, your vehicle will shut off or suddenly pull you back in your seat so when they start hitting people and light poles all over America, I'm gonna have to do with: NOBODY will buy one. And there's no way in hell it will become mandatory unless it works 100%, in which case I'd support it.

Re:Mandatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20119067)

No, alcohol from a hand sanitizer evaporates, while alcohol in the system is replenished from within.

Re:Mandatory? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118575)

Well... you could start with repeat drunk driving offenders. "Okay son, we are not prepared to believe you outright this time - the third time - that you are now rehabilitated and will not re-offend. So instead what we'll offer you is that you can have your license back now on the condition that you fork out $xxx to have this system installed in your car, and in any other car which you need to drive regularly, and that you submit your car regularly for checks that the system has not been tampered with, etc".

Re:Mandatory? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118775)

How about just not giving them a license? Or locking them up for a few years.

Re:Mandatory? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118903)

Most DUI people I know of end up driving anyways when their license is suspended. I don't think mandating this would make much of a difference. I know one guy who hasn't had a license for Ten years because he won't pay his OMVI fines.

Wake Me Up When Its Cheap (4, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118801)

Personally, I think that the alcohol detection systems are probably junk. Short of it being installed on a company vehicles (FedEx?) or as some punishment for a DUI, I don't really see the point. Even than, I doubt many shipping companies have alcohol problems so bad that it justifies such silly expenditures. It is pretty easy to tell if you are too drunk to drive, you don't need your car to tell you for you. Besides, a simple pair of gloves will happily void this system, while splashing alcohol on the steering wheel is a great way to piss off your friends.

On the other hand, the sleep detection system would be a godsend. If the price was right, I would happily get one of those things installed. I don't want it turning off my car in the middle of the highway, but tightening my seatbelt, beeping, or in some way warning me that I look like I am nodding off would be wonderful. Obviously, you would want a way to turn off the damn thing so that it doesn't confuse bobbing your head along to music with falling asleep, but so long as you can turn the thing off and it is relatively cheap, I think lots of people would go for it and get it installed voluntarily.

oh no (5, Funny)

b3x (586838) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118259)

bad for those of us with a lazy eye, use hand disinfectants, and weave to warm up our tires.

What About Bartenders or Waiters? (3, Interesting)

Gryle (933382) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118261)

Will the car detect the alcohol on their hands (but not in their systems) and refuse to let them drive?

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118271)

... and when you spill some E85 on you at the gas station, will it not let you drive afterwards?

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (4, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118933)

Or worse yet, it record the alcohol in the cars computer and you get into an accident that they come back later and cite you with a DUI over and consider it your fault when someone else ran a red light.

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118341)

Yes. Ironically, it won't stop an actual drunk, who will probably shift with a glove, or a napkin from the glove box. Alcohol helps you do stupid things, but it doesn't actually make you stupid.

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118559)

How many people keep gloves with them? The only way a drunk would have gloves to fool this system would be if they decided in advance to bring some gloves so they could do some drunk driving later on.

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118929)

I carry gloves in all my cars. You never know when you might have to change a tire, check the oil and so on. They are cheap and I have spares.

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118443)

Alcohol that's on your hands should evaporate quickly and I doubt think a detectable quantity could remain on your hands indefinitely.

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118557)

I wouldn't worry too much about that, you could just wear gloves. I'm sure a drunk person would *never* think of doing that.

More seriously, I think there is still value in a system that requires a deliberate attempt to subvert it. A person getting into a car and driving after possibly having too much to drink could argue that they thought they were under the limit (0.05% here in Australia). A person getting into a car and deliberately circumventing a system that has already told them quite clearly that they are over the limit could not, or certainly could not nearly as easily.

It won't necessarily stop the first offence, but will mean that there is much less chance of a person being given the benefit of the doubt when they clearly don't deserve it.

Re:What About Bartenders or Waiters? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118675)

A person getting into a car and deliberately circumventing a system that has already told them quite clearly that they are over the limit could not, or certainly could not nearly as easily.

Suppose the system was out of alignment? It isn't maintained regularly, and is likely to be even less reliable than the breathalyzers are. If I had something like that that acted up (or I was diabetic), damn right I'd circumvent it.

so much for windy roads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118263)

"A third system monitors the path of the vehicle to ensure it's traveling in a straight line and not weaving about the road, as is common with a drunken driver"

Re:so much for windy roads! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118313)

Not necessarily. Drunken weaving tends to be much less regular. The engineers that design roads tend to make them somewhat regular. And the radii of the curves tend to be appropriate for the speed of the car.

Drunk drivers will frequently react late to course corrections and do so in a more sudden manner. Driving a straight line isn't necessarily the problem that incorrectly reacting to a turn is.

I could be wrong about this, but if somebody is sober enough to have the two cases confused it is unlikely that the system would assume drunkeness. This system is more of a way of lessening the drunken driving, not a way of completely eliminating it.

Re:so much for windy roads! (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118993)

I've driven drunk, and I don't 'weave'. All drinking does is slow your reaction times, and makes you fuck up lane changes. It also lessens your sense of the width of the vehicle.

The engineers that design roads tend to make them somewhat regular.
Engineers don't design roads, they're already there, often following centuries old routes. My route to work is full of sharp bends, this device would probably decide that I'm drunk, even when I was sober.

Solution! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118279)

Solution: Build environmentally-friendly, agrarian, energy-concious biodomes. Since man (and woman) will be at peace with nature and balance, they will only need to travel as far as their garden rather than to the work place or the pub (which require vehicles.)

Problem solved!

Hmmm (3, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118287)

"The first [system] attempts to directly detect alcohol in the driver's sweat and gear shift lever."

Sorry Nissan, only my wife touches my gear shift lever.

Badum, tiss!

Thanks, I'll be here all week, enjoy the buffet, don't forget to tip your waitress.

Re:Hmmm (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118703)

Sorry Nissan, only my wife touches my gear shift lever.
You were kidding, but I think you're right.

Now instead of drunk drivers, we're going to have drunk drivers that get their wives (or their kids!) to do the shifting for them.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118923)

If there's someone else in the car and they're letting the impaired drive, there are some serious problems. Their wives should be the ones at the wheel in that case.

Not in Russia... (1)

hotfireball (948064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118289)

Even russian guy is completely Ok, the car won't run due to detecting the alcohol percentage in his cloth since long usage. :-)

*Sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118295)

'The first [system] attempts to directly detect alcohol in the driver's sweat and gear shift lever.'

Okay that's just stupid, there are many healthcare workers who use alcohol wipes and are going to get some on their hands. There are probably all sorts of circumstances where alcohol is going to end up on hands/the gear shift and screwing with the sensors.

Probably a bad idea. (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118297)

Probably a bad idea. It will encourage drivers to drive drunk. Experience with ABS systems on cars indicates that it encourages drivers to brake more aggressively. This seems more of the same.

Drowsy driver detection systems have been around for a while, mostly on large trucks.

We're in an annoying period where vehicle control systems can help a bit, but aren't yet good enough to reliably drive cars automatically. That's getting close, though. A few more rounds of the DARPA Grand Challenge, in tougher situations, and we'll be there.

Re:Probably a bad idea. (4, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118431)

Probably a bad idea. It will encourage drivers to drive drunk.

ABS compensates when the driver brakes too hard, but does not discourage the driver from taking such action in the future. A drunk-driving detector won't compensate for your poor driving while drunk, but it will instead warn you of your impairment to discourage you from continuing to drive. Those are two very different concepts.

Re:Probably a bad idea. (3, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119025)

ABS compensates when the driver brakes too hard, but does not discourage the driver from taking such action in the future. A drunk-driving detector won't compensate for your poor driving while drunk, but it will instead warn you of your impairment to discourage you from continuing to drive. Those are two very different concepts.
Previously:

One beer... I'm pretty sure I'm sober enough to drive.

Two plus... I'm not sure, better not chance it.

Now

One beer... It lets me start, I'm sober.

Five beers... It won't let me start. Yay, I can rely on this.

Three beers... Eh, I'll give it a shot. Hey, what do you know? I guess I'm more sober than I thought. Let's drive!

Whilst it's true that it's not exactly the same concept as ABS which compensates without discouraging, it does have a huge drawback in terms of giving people the sense that they can pass responsibility off on to a machine to determine if they're too drunk rather than erring on the side of caution.

Of course, the flip side is that many people don't err on the side of caution. It was an eye opener for me, moving from a country where drink driving was a major no-no to one where just about every person I meet seems to have a story about how they got pulled over after having "only had a few" and how unfair they felt it was. For people who err on the side of excess, this system will rein them in - great. For people who err on the side of caution however - and I desperately want to believe there are more people like this - it plays in to all kinds of behavioral psychology weaknesses to encourage them to stop playing it so safe. If that is indeed the larger group, it probably does make things worse overall.

Re:Probably a bad idea. (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119091)

It is similar, though, because trust in the system leads people with a 0.07999 BAC to think they're perfectly fine to drive. At .07999 BAC you're legal to drive, but still impaired.

Re:Probably a bad idea. (1)

polymath69 (94161) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118459)

Experience with ABS systems on cars indicates that it encourages drivers to brake more aggressively.

Yeah, that's the training; if you need to stop urgently, depress the brake and let the computer worry about static vs. dynamic friction. That's what it's for.

Some will abuse that technology by cutting people off and braking. That's not a problem with the technology. The problem is that some people are jerks.

Jerks will similarly try to abuse this technology with such measures as rubber gloves, sunglasses... I hesitate to imagine. But there are two problems with this tech. The second is that it will probably pass costs of implementation along to the innocent, but the first is that it won't stop people who are intent on being jerks.

I have used the word "jerk" above, but you probably know the word I really mean.

Re:Probably a bad idea. (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118465)

We're in an annoying period where vehicle control systems can help a bit, but aren't yet good enough to reliably drive cars automatically. That's getting close, though. A few more rounds of the DARPA Grand Challenge, in tougher situations, and we'll be there.

You'll get my manually-driven car when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

Re:Probably a bad idea. (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118777)

You'll get my manually-driven car when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

As a volunteer ambulance driver I've performed that service for many people.

Sadly, not all of them were the ones who were taking the risk of driving drunk or fatigued. They just got in the way of someone who'd made that choice.

Re:Probably a bad idea. (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118805)

You must live in California. Anyone who lives in a state where it snows and ices knows ABS is a fucking godsend.

Hey buddy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118299)

The first [system] attempts to directly detect alcohol in the driver's sweat and gear shift lever.

Uhm, quit attempting to detect alcohol in my "gear shift lever". I've already heard THAT line fifty times tonight, queerboy.

Isn't Hand Sanitizer... (2, Insightful)

C0y0t3 (807909) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118301)

...about 90% alcohol?

The other two options sound more effective to me.

Re:Isn't Hand Sanitizer... (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118397)

It's about 90% isopropyl alcohol, not ethanol. I assume it's not that trivial for a device to detect only ethanol.

Re:Isn't Hand Sanitizer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118925)

It's about 90% isopropyl alcohol, not ethanol. I assume it's not that trivial for a device to detect only ethanol.

Bad assumption. [ncdd.com] See here too. [wikipedia.org]

One major problem with older breathalyzers is non-specificity: the machines not only identify the ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) found in alcohol beverages, but also other substances similar in molecular structure or reactivity.

It would be trivial for a chemist with the right tools. For an unedumacated cop with any tools... not so.

Re:Isn't Hand Sanitizer... (1)

edschurr (999028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118413)

That stuff seems to evaporate quickly.

Yes and no (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118307)

Anything that takes away functionality like the alcohol detecting system or software locks that limit horsepower or top speed based on car model are bad in my opinion. It seems like a perfect example of (mis)applying technology to solve a social problem. The second system mentioned seems like a good idea because you're providing the driver with useful information, I would prefer maybe an audio alert to the potential strangulation by my seatbelt, but that's just me. And car makers better have the sense to make this easy to disable should it become common place.

Maybe I should just get into restoring cars that were made before the integration of microprocessors :)

Re:Yes and no (1)

yanyan (302849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118569)

Not only that, this completely gets in the way of that little thing called natural selection. ;-p

Re:Yes and no (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118697)

Not necessarily... Drunks seem to disproportionately survive thier wrecks while 'selecting' out potentially productive members of society instead.

Shit... (3, Funny)

EK103 (759713) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118323)

I used rubbing alcohol to clean my gear shift

This looks like a legal nightmare to me.... (5, Insightful)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118339)

I don't want to encourage drunk driving, but I don't see it as the car manufacturer's responsibility to put this equipment in the car. I certainly don't want that equipment on my car (either at extra cost to me or not), and would view any car with it as being "less" of a product that I might want to buy. Put short, I wouldn't purchase such a vehicle. Period.

In addition, as the auto manufacturers start trying to determine if the driver is drunk or not, this might put them at a legal risk for any false positives or negatives. IANAL, but I'm assuming that the manufacturers of those breath analysis devices that the court forces convicted drunks to put on their cars are somehow indemnified or otherwise held blameless should the user find some way to defeat them. Because this is something ordered by the court, they may be exempt from legal liability. I'm not convinced that any car manufacturer would be so lucky if they start putting them on "production" vehicles. There are plenty of hungry lawyers ready to start some type of class-action suit on behalf of injured third parties. To this end, I say keep up the good work lawyers, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Just another case of "more nanny state, less personal responsibility."

Re:This looks like a legal nightmare to me.... (2, Interesting)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118637)

If the people being injured or killed are people other than the driver, it's no longer a question of being a nanny state, or personal responsibility. It becomes a matter of public interest to stop something very dangerous - isn't that what government's for?

You could make pretty much the exact same lunatic nanny state arguments about speed limits, or speed bumps. And there's other laws, widely accepted, which are a much stronger infringements of personal liberty - seatbelt laws, for instance. Or motorcycle helmet laws, or car safety regulations, or airbag requirements, or "lemon" laws.

There is no fundamental right to drive drunk. If this technology can be implemented successfully, the inventors should win the Nobel prize, the Pulitzer price, and possibly a special Academy Award.

Re:This looks like a legal nightmare to me.... (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118785)

If this technology can be implemented successfully, the inventors should win the Nobel prize, the Pulitzer price, and possibly a special Academy Award.
Whereas those against this type of technology are prime candidates for the Darwin Award.

Re:This looks like a legal nightmare to me.... (1)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118717)

Agreed.

There's a difference between risking your OWN ass and risking other people's.

I actually think this is a better thing to enforce than, say, enforcing seat belts. Because if you don't wear a seatbelt, it's your own stupid skull that will be cracked, and if you want to take that risk, go right ahead, win the Darwin award. Of course, insurance companies should have full right to refuse compensation payments to those who didn't wear a seatbelt and then got killed/injured due to their own fault.

But you have absolutely NO right to endanger members of the public through your actions. It is not a right, not a privilege, not a freedom, never will and never would. And any means necessary (technological, political, legal, social, economic, whatever) to prevent you from putting innocent people in danger through your actions are justified.

Re:This looks like a legal nightmare to me.... (0, Flamebait)

phatvw (996438) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118849)

Just another case of "more nanny state, less personal responsibility."

By protecting stupid people (drunk drivers are more likely to kill themselves and their stupid drunk passengers than anyone else), we have a better chance of perpetuating the current class structure. We need poorly paid automatons in our society to make things work. To say otherwise is un-American.

hmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118349)

Isn't it just like automobile manufacturers to include new and novel safety features and governments say "OOOO! Let's make all our cars have that!". Hasn't that been the case with first seat belts, then airbags, then ABS, then traction control, then side-curtain airbags, now this crap. You can't get a new imported car street legal in the United States anymore without having all this unnecessary junk installed first. I'll just stick with my seat belts and airbags. If you're not a dupe behind the wheel, most of these "safety features" will go unused.

Accident avoidance is all up to the driver and it is their responsibility to know whether they are "good to drive" or not. This gadget seems to me to be an in for Big Brother to tell me when I can and can't drive. On a hot sunny day, my hands are going to sweat profusely. Will that cause me to not make it to work on time? I serve alcoholic beverages to people and then give them a safe ride home as a DD. Does that mean that my passengers will have to drive themselves home because I may smell of alcohol? This system undoubtedly has its flaws. I'm just waiting for some government stooge to make it mandatory.

Re:hmmm (1)

MonorailCat (1104823) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118485)

I wholeheartedly agree. I can not stand having mass I don't want in my car coming from equipment I don't want. I can see myself looking at kit cars in the future to get around this nanny-state legislation. I'm particularly worried about the upcoming all-cars-must-have-stability control laws. I sure hope it can be turned off.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118579)

Damn right! And I guess it's my personal responsibility not to get killed by your drunk ass! Down with Big Brother!

Re:hmmm (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118601)

Strangely enough, seat belts and driver/passenger airbags ARE the only features required by the government. Looks like you're on the same page as big brother, there.

ABS, traction control, collision avoidance hardware, side-curtain airbags, and the like are all optional equipment. Just try buying a base model entry-level car--it likely won't have anti-lock brakes. Two examples: Ford Focus, Nissan Versa.

Now, if you mean that you can't get an upscale car without these features, then yes. Damn Audi for making my car safer without interfering with my driving! I can't do donuts in the mountains and the car stays firmly on track around we corners. How dare they! These are Bad Things for public roadways--if you want to have fun with a plain mechanical system from the 70s, do it on your own property, not six feet behind my back bumper, thank you very much.

Re:hmmm (1)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118977)

> seat belts, then airbags, then ABS, then traction control, then side-curtain airbags, now this
> crap.

Funny you should mention that, because when I still lived in Sweden, I had a Saab 9-3 150 bhp TurboDiesel car with Airbags, Seatbelts, ABS, traction control, anti-spin, side-curtain airbags and another feature you don't mention: Adaptive steering. Meaning that depending on the steering the driver was doing and the position, speed and lateral movement of the car, the car would decide to help steering a bit wit the rear axles.

The ABS, Traction control, adaptive steering and Anti-Spin technology, when linked to a powerful engine and powerful brakes, made for a car that was extraordinarily safe and stable while being a total fucking blast to drive.

Then, in Copenhagen, a Mercedes S 600 decided to pile drive me off the road. So the Airbag, side-curtain airbag, deformation zone and seatbelts did their job to the point where I hardly felt I was hit myself. There was a loud bang and a smell, but those were the airbags. The car got fixed up, and is still in service. All of this technology makes it a wonderful vehicle.

Then I moved to Israel, where I got a Ford Focus with ABS, Airbag and belts. The rest of the options are just not there. And it is a total piece of shit to drive. Much like all other cars in Israel, because people are hardly enabled to order anything but the cheap-ass default cars without all the trimmings.

So, so get back to your point... "Ain't it just like automobile manufacturers" to give us splendid high-tech to really enhance our driving experience?

Drowsy Driving (5, Insightful)

DTemp (1086779) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118367)

This is probably more useful for tired drivers than drunk drivers, as more people drive tired than drunk.

The other day, I was traveling down I-90 in Mass and I was pretty tired. At point point I think I closed my eyes for around 5-10 seconds, and snapped out of it and was half-way into the next lane. I stopped, got out and stretched, and finished my drive with the windows down (which did a good job of keeping me awake). Ok, sure, I *shouldn't have been driving in the first place*, but if the automatic system would have snapped me out of it when it saw me going into the next lane, or saw my eyes closed, that would have been a big help.

Easy method to beat this.. (1)

mulvane (692631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118387)

Gloves

Practical Joke (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118395)

As a practical joke, take a picture from the eye sensing camera's POV with someone in the drivers seat and eyes closed, then tape it over the camera eyehole. Constantly cinching seatbelt!

Re:Practical Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118631)

wouldn't that blind the camera due to lack of light? That also raises the question of how this thing is supposed to see your eyes at night when its dark and you're actually likely to be drowsy.

Re:Practical Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118757)

most ccd's are actually more sensitive to IR the visible. Only via filters does this get avoided-- so you just dont put in the filter and have a weak ir illuminator.

How about (1)

Disharmony2012 (998431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118407)

Simple math problems to complete via touchscreen to start the car?

What if... (1)

gjyoung (320540) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118409)

someone cleans their hand with those alcohol based hand sanitizers before hand?

Re:What if... (1)

silverkniveshotmail. (713965) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118453)

someone cleans their hand with those alcohol based hand sanitizers before hand?


The car will not allow the sanitizer to evaporate.

Re:What if... (1)

groove333 (672058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118893)

Hand sanitizers do bring up a valid concern. I drive a company vehicle. I use a hand sanitizer on a frequent basis. After I pump gas, after i was just in a clients home, who had a nasty keyboard. If my company decided to switch to a vehicle with these 'features'. It would be a hindrance. I know that the sanitizers evaporate rather quickly, but how long would it disable the vehicle if detected?

#2 maybe, #1 and #3, not so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118411)

i like the idea of snapping the seat belt if you seem to be drowsy, provided the threshold is set high enough that it really makes you say 'wow. i really am falling asleep here' and scares you that way, rather than happening over and over when you're slightly tired but still alert enough to drive, desensitizing you to it. of course like any system, you should be able to turn it off.

idea #1 is just going to be a stupid annoyance if you've had a drink, and have a false reading, where it won't let you start the car. and on the flip side, people will be a lot more likely to try and drive regardless of how much they've drank, and if the system says they're fine, then assume everything must be okay. i can see the jokes now.. having several beers before heading out and saying 'oh man we had better get going before we can't start the car any more!'. when you implement technological solutions to social problems, people generally stop thinking about the ramifications of what they're going to do, because if the system lets them do it, it must be alright!

idea #3 is also going to be nothing but an annoyance. frankly i swerve a lot more if i'm stone cold sober and therefore driving competently (you know, going around cars that are parking, double parked, turning, sticking out into an intersection, over in your half of the road so you have to play chicken, etc). if i've had a few beers, i'll drive what the speed limit sign says (rather than adding the "massachusetts 15"), and generally yield to people doing the aforementioned things.

any system in a car should be there to assist me, not hinder me, regardless of what i want to do (that's why i'm buying the car, you know). there are always going to be cases where people are willing to take the consequences of possibly breaking the law because they have an overriding reason. if a system wants to inform me of something so that i'm aware of it and can make better decisions, great. a system that actively prevents me from doing what i wish would obviously not survive in a true free market, and is therefore immoral.

A new defense? (5, Funny)

weak* (1137369) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118433)

What do you mean occifer? My car says I'm sotally tober.

In a straight line, eh? (2, Funny)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118447)

So I guess if you're going to drive drunk in a Nissan equipped with one of these systems, don't travel anywhere with curves?

I used to like Nissan... (2, Informative)

LinDVD (986467) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118457)

...until I found out how much of a bad corporate citizen they actually are. I will never buy a Nissan or Infiniti vehicle because of this incident http://www.nissan.com/Digest/The_Story.php [nissan.com] , nor will I recommend Nissan/Infiniti to any of my close circle of friends.

problem in kenya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118475)

my history teacher used to tell us about an old joke in kenya. when you see someone driving straight, you know he is drunk, because sober people swerve to get around the potholes.

Learner Drivers (1)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118525)

It is inevitable this will turn into a system that disables the car completely, and alerts the police. How many learner drivers are going to be ID'd as drunk? here in australia you see learners all the time doing exactly what they discribed, meandering all over the road, braking and accelerating too quickly, etc. etc. And if you put a special mode in to avoid this people would just activate it when they are drunk. Or what about an emergency? What if you've been drinking a bit but need to get to the cops to tell them the terrorists have taken over then building? Or if your in a remote rural area and need to get soemone to the hospital? using technology in this way is very near sighted.

I have magical powers (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118541)

I can drop a single drop of alcohol on your gear lever, and your car won't run for hours never mind what you do.

Enjoy.

I don't want... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118599)

My car deciding to tighten up the seat belt on me like that. I just see bad things happening.

Technology and the future (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118609)

You know, these kind of things seem inevitable in our future. Dogooders will always attempt to do good, which often requires stopping stupid people. Unfortunately, dogooders are often non confrontational, and will always prefer a technological, blanket solution - because lets face it, what can be an easier way to stop drunk driving that having the car tell if you're drunk and just not letting you drive. But I just can't see these things ultimately turning out to be good: sooner or later their will be no more drunk drivers, pedophiles, pirates, etc. and then what? Maybe I'm just to cynical, but I don't think it's going to be a rosy world of freedom and peace then.

Now they just need to add a detector... (2, Insightful)

bob8766 (1075053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118615)

for drivers yakking away on their cell phone instead of watching the road.

Re:Now they just need to add a detector... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118639)

the driving patterns of the drunk driver and cell phone user seem the same to me so maybe the same system

I have a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118617)

Instead of promoting personal responsibility, let's make it easier for drunks to get behind the wheel of a car. That's a great idea right? Guys? Why is everybody leaving?

I can only imagine... (1)

darketernal (196596) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118619)

... how fun it was for the engineers to do testing on this contraption.

Test it on Ted Kennedy (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118685)

and if its good enough for senators, then its good enough for civilians.

Nice idea but... (1)

amccaf1 (813772) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118709)

Okay, first of all, I am strongly against drunk driving. To the people commenting on how they would like a system to tell them when they are drunk because they don't always know whether they are over the limit, I have but one thing to say. If you honestly don't know whether you're over the limit... you're over the limit.

Okay, so it detects that the driver is drunk. And the decision the car makes is to turn off access to the shift? Does it worry anyone out there that the car can override the driver? I mean, yes, if the driver is drunk, then probably the hunk of metal is better equipped to make decisions. But the first time this thing misfires there will be hell to pay.

And what happens if the drunk driver decides to drive around in first gear anyway? Will the steering automatically head towards the nearest embankment in an attempt to save time?

Also:

A third system monitors the path of the vehicle to ensure it's traveling in a straight line and not weaving about the road, as is common with a drunken driver.
Are people going to have to hit a button before they begin their journey to indicate either "Yeah, I might be wasted" or "No, I'm visiting my relatives and the roads out here weave all by themselves because the guy who laid the road was drunk, but that's no reason to punish me..."?

legal eagles (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118813)

I the problems i see is not with the technology but with the moron lawyers, who will no doubt be rubbing their hands together at this news.

this system will no doubt require all 3 matches to slow the car and warn you that you might be in danger. weaving, plus eye movement and alcohol in your sweat no doubt indicates your. it won't just stop the car if you use hand wipes, all you geniuses spouting that are full of it.

the problem will start when some fucking moron manages to fool the system and has a crash anyway, and will use our current "don't blame me i'm the victim" culture to sue.

lol what? (1)

xous (1009057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118821)

I'd cut out a seat belt that randomly tried to strangle me. I don't think it would take long for anyone to figure out that s pair of gloves would defeat sensing for alcohol in sweat. When I go drunk driving, I'm really hammered* -- it takes me a few minutes to get the car turned on, but I still don't swerve all over the bloody place. Who does that? The whole idea fails because most people would buy the bloody car in the first place. Second, it would probably take a small amount of effort to fully remove the restraints instead of avoiding them. * Most of a 66oz bottle of whiskey.

Re:lol what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118883)

really hammered (Most of a 66oz bottle of whiskey)
pussy

Confiscate and sell the vehicle (1)

cpirate (550051) | more than 6 years ago | (#20118867)

Treat drunk driving like a drug offense, confiscate the vehicle they are driving and sell it at police auction.

stop adding weight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20118937)

Oh great, more sensors and doodads to add weight to the car.
More weight means less fuel economy.
And collectively these things are really adding up (side airbags, side reinforcement, government-mandated design rules up the wazzoo, which is why all modern cars effectively look alike).

When can we say "enough is enough with all the safety features" and start trimming weight?

Fuel on your hands (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119029)

How many false positives do you think will be triggered from people who have just fueled the car? The more we move toward ethanol as the primary constituent of fuel, the more people are going to come into contact with it with their hands. Do you stop and wash your hands after fueling? I sure don't; gas station bathrooms are often nasty enough to make it a questionable move.

Mal-2

Automatic Seatbelts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20119045)

Do the seatbelts automatically tighten if Millhouse fidgets?

This is excellent (1)

Mad-cat (134809) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119071)

Disclaimer: I am a police officer in the US state of Florida. I make a lot of DUI arrests and specialize in traffic-related crimes.

If this works as advertised, it would be a wonderful way to deter the dangerous and all-to-common crime of DUI.

Of all these ideas, the eye movement cameras are the strongest indicators of impairment, but sound difficult to implement correctly. Sluggish, jerky eye movement and poor tracking is the single strongest indicator of impairment I look for when evaluating whether a driver might be impaired or not. If people with these signs were told by their vehicles not to drive, it would be one of the best things that could happen to traffic.
I'd be interested to see how the sweat sensors work out. That's not something we can conclusively detect with human senses for the purposes of courtroom testimony. No judge will allow a jury to hear an officer saying "he reeked of booze and was sweating alcohol right out of his pores."

Making it mandatory rubs me the wrong way, but mandatory for people *convicted* of alcohol-related crimes (DUI and under-21 alcohol use might be a good step) and minor drug possession crimes could have this mandatory on their vehicles in lieu of jail time.

People who cry fascism, just remember that DUIs don't involve police coming into your life and telling you what to do. It involves drunk people going out into the public, and recklessly endangering, maiming, and killing innocent people. Alcohol-related vehicular homicide is far, far more common than murder, but people keep acting like DUIs are "victimless crimes."
I'll be sure to tell that to the next family of a pedestrian I scrape off the road.

oh great (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20119081)

the automative clippey
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