Future in-car biometrics could detect drunk-driving or a heart attack

Politicians in the US recently released a bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes around $555 billion in new spending to build roads, public transit, and other transport options. Amongst other things, the bill mandates Car OEMs to introduce technology to “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”

This is significant news for companies working on tech to detect drunk-drivers. In June, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, Inc. (ACTS) announced that a product equipped with new alcohol detection technology would be available for open-source licensing in commercial vehicles for the first time in late 2021.

Their tech results from extensive R&D and testing by the DADSS Program, a public-private partnership between automakers and the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Open-source licensing means that the drunk-driving technology will be available to any product integrator for preparation into fleet vehicles — whether government vehicles, rental cars, or trucking companies. It’s a challenging space, with the risk of false positives and the reality of drunk drivers who will try to cheat the system. 

A Nissan concept car uses sensors, cameras, and AI to detect drunk drivers