Here’s a possible future scenario: You go out to dinner and have a couple of mimosas over the course of the meal. You’re sure you’re below the legal limit, and you certainly don’t feel intoxicated — so you see no problem with driving yourself home.
Your car, on the other hand, has a different opinion. Shortly after you start the engine, your car’s artificial intelligence (AI) system takes over. It guides your car gently into the nearest parking lot and turns off the ignition and you can’t turn it back on again until the car decides that you’re sober.
It’s closer than you think. While the scenario above is a bit of an exaggeration, it’s entirely possible that’s what consumers will see in the future when they purchase new automobiles. One automaker, Volvo, is already doing its part to reduce drunk driving by implementing similar AI controls in its newest designs.
Volvo is planning on installing sensors and in-car cameras in all new vehicles that are designed to monitor drivers for symptoms of intoxication and distracted driving alike. Initially, the monitoring systems would send warning signals to the driver involved. If those were ignored, however, the artificial intelligence in the car would have the power “to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals.”
Volvo says that the AI would only step in when the driver is risking “serious injury or death” in an accident. The AI could slow the vehicle down and then put it in park. The company expects to have the new safety systems in place by 2020.
Drunk driving is clearly a problem — and it seems that auto companies want to do their part to put an end to it. If you make a mistake, however, and misjudge your sobriety before heading out on the road, make sure that you get an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights.