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.
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
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
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
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.