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​How Your Drunken Voice Could Shut Down Your Car

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For the past seven years, German researchers have been getting people drunk and recording them. No, this has nothing to do with some strange audiofetischisten. It's called the Alcohol Language Corpus, and one of the applications could be a system that detects when you're tossed and doesn't start the car.

The ALC is the work of two German universities that got 162 men and women drunk and then recorded conversations with them inside a stationary car.


By using those recordings, the system could tell if the driver is intoxicated though changes in their voice's pitch, rhythm, and of course, slurring.

According to Fast Company, this research could birth a new form of in-car intoxication device similar to the breathalyzer-based immobilizers currently required for repeat DUI offenders.


But there are a few problems. First, you need to supply the system with previous recordings of your uninebriated voice for comparison. Second, voice recognition continues to suck. And third, the drunk-detection algorithm is only accurate 73 percent of the time, according to a Columbia University study.

Some companies and automakers have toyed with other ways of detecting drunk drivers, including Nissan which developed a concept car that combined a camera scanning the driver's face and odor sensors to identify intoxication. But all these systems are still a long ways off because of price, integration, and accuracy.