Wednesday, 05 Sep, 2007 Technology

Cars to Say 'No!' to Drunk Drivers


Volvo, a famous automobile maker from Sweden, has developed a device not to allow drunk drivers start their cars. The Alcoguard breath-analyzer looks the same as a TV remote-control handset. It is responsible for measuring the alcohol level in a driver's blood. In case the alcohol amount is above the legal maximum - that is less than 0.2 g/l in Sweden - the car will simply not start.

Volvo will initially produce 2,000 models of Alcoguard to supply the Volvo S80, V70 and XC70. The devices will retail at 800 Euro (1,000 dollars) and are aimed to be initially used by taxi companies and municipalities.

Nowadays, no one is surprised to find out that one in three highway fatalities in Europe is caused by alcohol-intoxication. According to Ingrid Skogsmo, manager of the Volvo Cars Safety Center, the company has developed Alcoguard as a device to make the driver take sober decisions.

The first models of the similar 'alco-locks' were developed in the US and Canada in the 1980s. They were aimed at keeping under control the drivers convicted of drunk-driving.

Japanese car maker Nissan has also launched an in-car Breathalyzer. The device developed by Nissan first measures alcohol level in the driver's breath via a special odor sensor. If levels exceed the norm, a polite female voice advises the driver not to start the car. If the driver ignores the warning, the sensors installed in the gear stick test the alcohol level in the sweat on the palms of the driver. If the test shows the excessive level, the device automatically locks the transmission of the car.

According to the Volvo Company, the smart thing named Alcoguard will be available in the beginning of 2008.

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