Roadside Lasers Can Help Catch Drunken Drivers

By Carl Engelking | June 10, 2014 12:46 pm

frightened drunken driver

Between red-light cameras and automatic radar detectors, traffic enforcement has been going increasingly high-tech. And now cops can add another tool to their arsenal: Researchers have developed a roadside laser that can remotely detect alcohol vapors in a car.

The laser, created by researchers from the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland, can theoretically spot a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.1 percent simply by shining a beam through the vehicle’s windows.

How It Works

The device works by shining a beam from the roadside into a mirror placed on the opposite side of the street, and back to a detector near the laser source. As a car passes through the beam, the detector — accounting for window distortions — measures minute changes in the beam caused by alcohol vapor.

The laser device prototype is a bit clunky, but it was shown to work in the lab. Researchers heated a water-alcohol solution to 25°C which released a plume of vapors inside a stationary test vehicle. The laser was positioned several feet from the windows of the vehicle, with the height of the device adjusted so a beam could travel through the windows to the reflector. 

The device successfully identified a plume of vapor equivalent to the breath of a human with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.1 percent — just above the 0.08 percent legal limit in many states. The findings appear in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing.

Tricking the Technology

Researchers acknowledge that their device could easily be fooled. Drivers could simply roll down their windows, blast their air conditioners or conceal their activities with window tint. Furthermore, it could be the passenger emitting the boozy breath. However, researchers say their device can detect these attempts at trickery, and will still alert police that a vehicle should be checked.

Moving forward, the teams wants to scale down their product and make it easier for cops to use. They envision linking the device to a camera that would snap photos of potential drunken drivers to tip off police further up the road.

 

Photo credit: ambrozinio/Shutterstock

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: gadgets, transportation
  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    When the innocent are jailed, the true criminals are their guards. So it was in Stalin’s gulags, and it worked magnificently. Every citizen a prisoner, every criminal a king. Homeland Severity to rule them all, Homeland Severity to find them, Homeland Severity to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

    I volunteer to be the Napolitano, broadcasting ruin without prejudice or surcease.

  • idontknowyou

    This is ridiculous – I can’t imagine this doesn’t violate the 4th amendment.

  • JakeFromStateFarm

    or this one

    • Guest

      Geico is better…state farm is better

  • djkderpojnge

    Same STEM sucksssss

    • JakeFromStateFarm

      Yes it does all we do is look up stuff and make a bunch of powerpoints

      • djkderpojnge

        who are you in stem

        • Jake From State Farm

          I’m Jake –
          Jake From State Farm.

  • Geico Lizard

    @disqus_0XzmBoQZkI:disqus GEICO IS BETTER

    • JakeFromStateFarm

      nonononononononononononono state farm is better

    • Geico Lizard

      Well the guy you were talking to on the phone, the one who’s wife got mad. They signed up for geico..They said you spend to much time talking to people and there wife’s get mad..

      • Jake From State Farm

        Lies. That’s the only time that’s ever happened.

  • Geico Lizard

    If you do not like this stem class then you should sign up for geico…15 minutes or more can save you on car insurance

    • JakeFromStateFarm

      Why would car insurance help me with STEM

      • Geico Lizard

        Because We can get a car and either dive through or out of this place.

        • Jake From State Farm

          Touche

    • djkderpojnge

      I hate geckos

  • djkderpojnge

    Jake I followed you NOW FOLLOW ME

    • Jake From State Farm

      Ok I followed you

  • WEINER

    hello randall

  • djkderpojnge

    ey niqqa

  • WEINER

    hows stem

  • djkderpojnge

    nick skaggs

  • WEINER

    me in da booty:-)

  • WEINER

    thts how I like it

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