Canadian firm develops anti-drunk driving tech for future cars

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One of the world’s leading suppliers of technology for new cars has introduced a high-tech anti-drunk driving system which could lead to thousands of lives being saved.

A major supplier of new-car technologies has unveiled what could be the next step in combating drink-driving, potentially saving thousands of lives on the road every year.

Canadian firm Magna International – which supplies parts to many new-car companies – used the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to showcase its new technology, which uses breath sensors and cameras to determine whether a driver is impaired by alcohol.

While a camera records the driver’s face for eye movements to detect distraction, drowsiness and intoxication, an infrared sensor can measure the alcohol and carbon dioxide levels in a driver’s breath – and subsequently calculate whether they are above the legal blood-alcohol level.

If a driver attempts to drive drunk, the system will shut down the car and prevent them from taking off or driving further.

As the technology was revealed in the US, it was designed to only detect blood-alcohol levels up to 0.08 (the highest legal figure in all US states bar Utah) – though it can be recalibrated depending on the limit in different countries.

In Australia, motorists on a full licence can drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of up to 0.05, however those on learner and provisional licences are held to a restriction of absolute zero.

Magna has not yet announced when to expect its anti-drunk driving technology to debut in a production car.

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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