I recently read a story on the New York Times that I want to discuss here on the Htet Tayza blog today. It claims that innovators are creating technology to tackle the issue of drunk driving.
Fighting drink driving
‘Soon, Cars May Take Away the Keys of a Drunken Driver,’ chronicles the various efforts that are being undertaken to develop technology that will be able to curtail the scourge of drink driving. This is a serious social problem that kills almost 10,000Americans every year.
The US Department of Transportation recently announced that it has taken its latest step towards developing anti-driving technology. This amazing equipment is designed to allow cars to detect when someone has exceeded the alcohol limit and prevent them from turning the vehicle.
Anti-drink driving technology
They recently demonstrated a new test vehicle that was outfitted with touch pads that are able to instantaneously measure when someone has surpassed the legal alcohol limit. The touch pads can be installed on the starter button of ignitions or steering wheels; places people have to touch to work the car.
Touch is key to how this ground-breaking tech works. When a driver places their finger on the touch-pad, it shines an infrared light which has the ability to analyse alcohol underneath the skin. This allows the technology to measure the alcohol limit in a person’s blood vessels. It can differentiate between a real live person and an inanimate object.
Analysing driver’s breath
The article went on to talk about the fact that other parties are developing alternatives to the touch-based technology championed by the Department of Transportation. These depend on the analysis of a driver’s breath.
This breath-based system would work somewhat like a breathalyser. It utilises a sensor that has been embedded into either the driver’s side door or the steering column to collect their breath. Then it uses infrared light to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content. This technology is equipped with special venting to ensure that only the drivers’ breath is analysed by the sensor.
Focus on developing technology
The article went on to debate the pros and cons of each approach, but that’s not what I want to talk about. What really struck me about this piece is that it proved that technology really can be the solution to the most taxing problems facing modern society.
Think about it. How many medicines, techniques, machines and technologies have we developed in the last 50 or so years that have improved quality of life? So many we can’t even name them all. This article should remind us that we need to focus on developing new technologies if we want to create a better world.