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Preventing drink-driving
With efficient on-board systems

Camera monitoring the driver's state of consciousness through the blinking of the eyes.

Camera on the instrument cluster, monitoring the driver's face.

Passenger seat sensor.

Shift knob sensor.

From the top: 1, monitoring the driver's state of consciousness through the blinking of the eyes. 2, Camera on the instrument cluster. 3, Passenger seat sensor. 4, Shift knob sensor.

APN,
14 November 2007.

When Nissan revealed last August its concept car with multiple preventative features designed to help reduce drunk driving, it was only part of a more holistic approach to the question.

Currently integrated on-board a production model Fuga sedan, the various technologies are designed to detect the driver's state of sobriety and to activate a range of preventive measures including immobilization of the vehicle if necessary.

First, a camera is mounted on the instrument cluster facing the driver to monitor his / her face. The system is calibrated to monitor the driver's state of consciousness through the blinking of the eyes. As soon as signs of drowsiness are detected, a voice and message alerts are triggered via the navigation system. Additionally, a seat-belt mechanism tightens around the driver to gain his or her immediate attention.

By constantly monitoring the operational behavior of the vehicle (e.g. sensing if the vehicle is veering out of its driving lane), the system can identify signs of inattentiveness or distraction. Here again, voice and message alerts are issued via the navigation system, with the seat-belt alert mechanism also activated to gain the driver's immediate attention.

The concept car was developed as an exploratory platform to showcase breakthrough technologies that could potentially be applied in future production cars, part of an ongoing program from Nissan to address drunk driving dangers.

Nissan has already launched and is developing several initiatives to help prevent drunk driving. In June, the company introduced in Japan a new message alert against drink-driving through its CARWINGS navigation system.

A month later, the Japanese carmaker also began testing a new on-board breathalyzer system in cooperation with several local government authorities, where an interlock mechanism immobilizes the vehicle if the driver’s breath indicates the presence of alcohol above a specified level.

The system is installed on daily-operating vehicles where the drivers monitor various factors such as functionality and alcohol-detection reliability. Nissan will use the results to further its research and development in preventive drink-driving technology.

The tests are conducted in partnership with Kitakyushu city in Fukuoka Prefecture, Tochigi Prefectural Government and Kaminokawa town, as well as Atsugi city in Kanagawa Prefecture.

All these moves are part of Nissan's efforts to halve the number of traffic fatalities or serious injuries involving Nissan vehicles in Japan by 2015, compared with the level in 1995. To this end, the third Japanese automaker has embarked also on the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) technologies (see 1, 2) in Kanagawa Prefecture – aimed at helping to reduce road accidents via the analysis of traffic data collected from on-the-road vehicles and traffic beacons.

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