Hitachi Ltd. has developed a smartphone-connected device to prevent drunken driving by detecting alcohol from a person's breath while employing facial recognition technology to prevent the person from using a substitute.
The device will allow taxi and parcel delivery services to make sure their drivers are alcohol-free. Hitachi will begin a field test in August with employees at a subsidiary in preparation for commercialization.
The device, which weighs 20 grams, needs to be attached to a smartphone and is operated through an application on the phone.
When a driver breathes into the device before getting into a vehicle, the smartphone camera takes a photo of the person.
The device will confirm if the person who took the breath test is the same as the one driving by having the smartphone take another facial image once the driver is aboard, Hitachi said.
The device allows businesses to download and log the data and results of tests to a smartphone or personal computer.
Hitachi is also considering working with automakers to develop a system that would prevent cars from starting when it detects an alcohol level exceeding the legal limit, a company official said.