Honda has been working with technology firm Hitachi to create a smart key which tests the driver’s breath before allowing them to start the car.
The ignition interlock technology can accurately test alcohol levels within three seconds, the manufacturers claim, and prevent the vehicle from starting if it detects the driver is over the limit.
Although the technology isn’t new, it’s much more precise and accurate than current ignition interlock tech, thanks to sensitive new miniaturised sensor technology as well as the use of multiple semiconductor gas sensors. This means the device can detect alcohol levels as little as 0.015mg/L – much lower than the UK’s limit of 0.40mg/L.
While other systems require drivers to perform breath tests from the driver’s seat once inside a vehicle, this device allows them to measure their alcohol level from anywhere prior to entering their car. Once in the driver’s seat, an alert indicator displays the breath test results on the vehicle’s display panel.
Hitachi and Honda will unveil the prototype device at next month’s SAE 2016 world congress, and have said it could be commercially available in the near future.