back to article Nissan rolls out drink-proof cars

Drink drivers could be prohibited from driving under the influence if new technology from Nissan is introduced. The Japanese car maker has developed a new odour detection system designed to prevent drivers from operating a car if they are over the legal limit. The system works by using a series of sensors to detect the level of …


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  1. Kris Chaplin

    Nice idea but....

    What about if the car is full of drunk people, but the driver is not.... would the sensors really be able to differentiate between a drunk passenger and a drunk driver?

    Also if someone has just had a drink, would they already be perspiring alcohol?

    Sounds like a nice idea, but I dont see it hitting the streets any time soon. And if so, the price of it will probably make it an optional extra.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    who would buy it

    presumabaly this would be a feature which you are liekly to have to pay extra if someone is going to drink drive they wouldnt go out and buy this car or buy the feature in this car?

    if its going to be popular it should really be standard on most cars...otherwise will just stop buying nissans!

  3. Torbjørn

    As always

    everything that's made to hinder anyone from driving has to have an override function. If you've had a few drinks, and someone in your vicinty has an accident, the car simply has to work. Getting to a doctor/hospital is the most impotant thing.

    If you are blind drunk, then the most important thing is for someone else to drive, unless you want to add traffic carnage to the toll...

    My point is that human judgement will and should in any case be the final straw - with all the flaws that follows.

  4. jmjjg

    A new technology can already be used to circumvent Nissan's technology

    It's called gloves.

    Now, everybody can use cars with that Nissan technology while being totally drunk. Gear stick sensor will only have contact with gloves, and gloves don't sweat alcohol.

    Granted, you will still get the sensors on the seats yelling at you.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this such a good idea?

    Given most mediacted handwashes use alchol. Hell would mean I cant drive home from work.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alcohol inside the cabin?

    Do they really mean that if it senses alcohol in the cabin it will lock the transmission out - regardless of who it came from?

    Can't imagine that going down well with people who give lifts to people who have been drinking and it would be really bad news for a taxi driver on a Friday or Saturday night.

    As for their claim that it is part of a project aimed at halving the number of fatalities and serious injuries in Nissan cars by 2015 compared to 1995 levels.... I seem to remember that the average Nissan in 1995 was a rust bucket on wheels (I do remember being able to see the road through the floor in one in the late 90s)

  7. Dunstan Vavasour

    Lockout could stop people thinking

    My concern is that it will engender an attitude of "I'm safe to drive, my car has let me", in the same way that spelling-checkers mean that many people don't read-over their documents.

    In short, it is the responsibility of the driver to assess whether he/she is fit to drive, not the car.

  8. Robert Hirst


    So I suppose the car won't start if you're wearing gloves...

    And as for detecting passenger alcohol levels, I'd rather drunk people got a lift home or caught a taxi, rather than puking all over the bus or train...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Much as I'd love to reduce and eliminate drink driving, if the system reads booze from sweat on the gear stick, just keep a set of rubber gloves in the glovebox for when your car won't let you drive.

    As for testing the level of alcohol in the air. What happens when I'm perfectly sober and playing taxi driver for my regularly very drunk friends? Or for real cab drivers taking home drunk party-goers who did leave the car at home?

    nice try Nissan, but no cigar

  10. LaeMi Qian

    Other way

    Usually hot tech from NASA filters down into general use. Maybe this tech should be filtering the other way ;-D

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try liquor shopping...

    You have your car loaded with liquor for the evening party, and a bottle happens to brake... Just adding my two pennies for the possibilities above...

    Even better, a thief on the traffic sign wants your belongings (your watch, your wallet, your mobile)... he just needs to carry a tiny bottle of perfume, loaded with alcohol. There you go, your car won't become a mean of getaway.

    Somebody spills a drink on your dress over a fancy dinner, now you can't drive home.

    NEWS FLASH! Most cars around here work with alcohol! Should any leak occur, the car turns you down! It is pretty common that the car reeks alcohol while it is being turned on in the morning. I know this for a fact since I had an alcohol-propelled car. It was not a malfunction, the scent was just there.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You go to a pub and buy a pint. You accidently knock the glass out of your hand and of someone elses. He goes balistic and tells you that your mum is a hoare... You say the same thing about his sister and he chases you out of the pub

    You try escape to drive to another pub for your first pint but your alchohol drenched hand can't touch the gear stick so your forced to make your escape, using the gear stick with your right hand and the steering with your shoulder, squirming like a retard as you sit in your car shitting yourself.

  13. Peter

    Bugger that!

    Where's the self driving car?!? They should be researching that instead of this nonsense :-)

  14. Rob

    Another failure scenario


    Say you are drunk, you get into your Nissan, and the car refuses to let you drive away from the pub car park. What do you do? You probably fall asleep in your car. Then a policeman comes by, wakes you up, and breathalysers you.

    Q: Does the fact that you have this device installed insulate you from the "drunk and in charge of an automobile" traffic offense?

    A: Somehow, I doubt it. Kiss goodbye to your license for the next 12 months.

    PS. Yes I know I used the US spelling of "licence". Damn Firefox's spell checker.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In related news

    an obnoxious ad for LEXUS vehicles slows down the Safari browser to a crawl while endlessly blurting about the joys of performance. Could you PLEASE get rid of the darn thing or whatever else it is that eats all performance once El Reg is being visited, BEFORE I get annoyed enough to install some sort of ad-block. Seriously, it feels like drunk driving a Nissan. Make it stop, or rather, make it go again!

  16. Eduard Coli

    New column for El Reg?

    Maybe the Register should start covering technology under a new column called "Nanny State Tech".

    There you could read about all of the new invasive techniques the governments are using to make sure that you do what you are told to do and possibly rate the personal rights expense for small bit of safety ratio each new invasive technique might present. I mean people ought to know if there getting their personal liberties worth if they are going to let a bobbie ride shotgun when they drive.

  17. Rob

    Dave wasn't that upset afterall

    This is what my mate Dave said on the matter:

    "Hey! That's funny, I've already bought one of those and tested it!

    I got into the new Nissan after a night out at a bar and tried to drive it

    home. It subsequently told me that I was too drunk to drive and that I

    should get back into the bar and finish chatting up a the bird I had left

    there, and then get a taxi home with her!

    Wow, what f**king great technology - it worked a treat for me!"

    I hope this finally puts an end to this pessimistic debate.

  18. Anthony Bathgate

    Easily defeated.

    Every safety feature on my Ford Focus can be defeated with a pair of wirecutters - or at worst, two fingers and a 1-inch strip of wire in the relay box. This will likely be the same... Unless it's an optional feature, in which case this is only going to sell to mum and dad buying little johnny his first car.

  19. J

    Could be worse...

    "If the alcohol level detected is above a pre-determined threshold, the system automatically locks the transmission, immobilising the car."

    ...and locks the doors, and calls the police, send your GPS coords... THAT would be fun! :-)

    Now, why don't they just put a breathalyser there for you to blow into and get over with this stupid thing -- unless the result is adequate, no ignition or whatever. OK, then you could ask that friend who doesn't drink (??) to take the test... In which case, why not just ask said friend to drive? Or whatever.

    "Maybe the Register should start covering technology under a new column called "Nanny State Tech"."

    Er... while the column might be an entertaining idea, I guess this was Nissan's idea and doing. No? Nanny Manufacturer Tech then?

  20. executor485

    Not a new concept

    They already have breathalizer cars out currently... Its a feature that is installed on people's cars that actually have a problem with drinking and driving... People caught so many times, or whatnot... And it will check before you start the car and periodically during your drive. So you can just get Joe to blow into it for you and drive off...

    Also, if the alchohol detection system in this Nissan goes by air in the cabin, couldnt you just roll down the windows and defeat that? Or the reverse, your rolling down the road with your windows down and drive past somewhere that smells like alchohol.

    I gotta agree with the comment they should focus more on self driving cars, or useful technologies rather than a baby sitter. Or how about making better use of anti-theft technology... Something along those lines...

  21. Emo

    Excellent for halving fatalities/serious injuries

    "Nissan said the technology is part of a project aimed at halving the number of fatalities and serious injuries in Nissan cars by 2015 compared to 1995 levels."

    So less people buy Nissans and therefore less fatalities/serious accidents in Nissans! Job done!

    Are these the same boffins behind Vista?

    Pure Genius.

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