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Autonomous cars could report drunk drivers to police

Huawei files patent for in-car monitoring system able to detect if the driver is drunk and even if drugs are present in the vehicle

Police Scotland drink-driving feature - breathalyser

Drunk drivers of the future could soon be shopped to the police by their car, after electronics giant Huawei filed a patent for a system that allows an autonomous car to detect if its driver is drunk.

A document filed to the European Patent Office explains that a car fitted with the technology would be able to monitor the condition of its driver in order to ensure they would be in a fit state to take over manual control should it be required.

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If the car detects its driver is drunk, it can use “machine learning” to make a decision as to what course of action to take, including issuing a warning to occupants, deactivating the controls or even contacting the police if necessary.

The patent describes the car being fitted with “a plurality of sensors configured to obtain images”. This technology is not only designed to detect alcohol, but also a phone with text on its display, drugs, or even a weapon. In addition, the system can tell if the driver is distracted, frustrated or drowsy.

This isn’t the first time engineers have considered the law enforcement potential of autonomous cars. Back in October last year, telecoms giant Motorola filed a patent for a self-driving police car-cum courtroom, which would allow sentences to be delivered via videolink, and offenders autonomously delivered to jail.

There’s currently no information on how Huawei would implement this system. The firm has not announced any plans to build its own car, so it’s possible the technology will be sold to other manufacturers for them to use in their own vehicles.

What do you think of about autonomous cars being able to report you for drink-driving? Let us know in the comments below...

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