Tiny and portable breathalyser can now be part of your car's smart key
Experts have made a tiny portable breathalyser that can be part of your car's 'smart' key.
And it is claimed that it could help revolutionise the whole area of preventing and warning people about drink-driving.
The tiny little device can give you a result within three seconds, its makers claim.
It has been developed jointly by Hitachi and Honda. They claim the prototype has "distinct advantages over current ignition interlock technology".
They say the portable alcohol detector is tamper-resistant as it is capable of distinguishing human breath from alternative gases.
A joint statement points out: "This device is capable of distinctively detecting the saturated water vapour from human breath and accurately measures alcohol levels within three seconds."
The two companies worked on the technology to create what they call the "ideal alcohol detector".
Their system can also show the level of alcohol on a vehicle's display panel.
It can also become an "ignition interlock" to stop a vehicle from starting when it discovers a driver is under the influence of alcohol.
But where does it score over so many existing 'interlocks' already developed?
In essence they say other systems require motorists to carry out the test from the driver's seat while their new device lets you measure levels anywhere and any time before that.
As a result, they say, the "temptation to drive" is reduced because the information can come in ahead of you being in a driving environment.
Additionally they say the fact it can confirm the gas is human breath and the level of alcohol present at the same time, is a step forward on others.
Hitachi developed the sensor technology capable of accurately detecting the "saturated water vapours" from human breath.
The system prevents the engine from starting if it detects that the driver is over the pre-set limit.
The prototype and research findings will be shown at next month's SAE 2016 World Congress and Exhibit in Detroit.