Researchers at the India-based Uttarakhand Residential University, RI Instruments and Innovationin have developed a new graphene-based technology to prevent vehicles from operating if the driver is drunk. To be more exact, the jointly developed device will make driving difficult if the driver is in an inebriated condition or feeling drowsy or is speaking on the mobile phone.
The prototype will be based on graphene generated from waste products and wild grasses as one of the components. Graphene has an important role in the device as graphene-coated electrodes can catalyze the process of oxidation of ethyl alcohol into acetic acid. The concentration of alcohol will automatically disconnect the device, the team said.
The driver, while at the driving seat, has to blow the graphene sensor on the device to start the vehicle. This will immediately activate the sensor that will analyze and estimate the liquor content present in the blood of the driver. The engine of the vehicle will not start in case the presence of liquor is more than the prescribed limit. If the driver gets someone else to blow the graphene-coated sensor, the infrared feature of the sensor will analyze it and the vehicle will not start.
In case the driver feels sleepy while driving, the object and imaging module of the sensor will analyze his eye movements and will alert the co-passengers. The imaging technique will also send an alert in case the driver is talking on his mobile phone.
The device will be equipped with the GPRS-GSM and biometric technologies and will help to know the location of the vehicle. In case of an accident, the device will automatically, within five to 10 minutes, dial phone number 100 to send an SOS to the police.
The team has sent the device to the patent cell of the Uttarakhand State Council for Science and Technology, Dehradun, for patent.
The device will be tested extensively at International Centre for Automotive Technology in Manesar, SGS Lab in Gurugram and the Automotive Research Association of India in Pune before it is used in vehicles.