Forgotten Project: Saab ‘Alcokey’ – Breathalyser

Saab is once worked on developing an innovative car key that doubles up as a miniature breathalyser to prevent potential drink drivers from starting their cars.

What makes the Saab ‘Alcokey’ unique is its size and that it will be integrated into the car key – unlike more costly and complicated alcohol detecting devices fitted to a car’s dashboard or door locks.

Saab Alcokey is being trialed in Sweden with the support of the influential Swedish National Road Administration.

Alcokey’s ease of use and relative affordability – around $400 – means it could be offered as an accessory through Saab dealers if the trials prove successful.

The Saab Alcokey concept features a small mouthpiece in the car’s key fob. When the driver presses the ‘doors open’ button on the car key fob, the alcohol sensor is also switched on.

The driver then blows into a small mouthpiece at the end of the fob to provide a breath sample which passes down a small internal tube containing a semi-conductor.

The sample is then analysed, and a small green or red light on the fob is illuminated. If the green light is shown, the key will transmit an ‘all clear’ signal to the car’s electronic control unit to allow the engine to be started.

However, if a red light is shown, the ‘all clear’ signal will not be sent and the engine will, therefore, remain immobilised.

The software instructing the engine immobiliser can be adjusted according to statutory alcohol limits. Prototype Alcokey was  a separate unit, about 10cm long and 4cm wide, additional to a conventional Saab key. via wirelessdigest

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