The Launch of the Driven To Protect Public-Private Partnership
This month, the Alcohol Detection System (ADS) took a giant step out of the lab and into the real world with the launch of the in-car testing in Virginia. In a news conference on September 10, Governor Northam of Virginia launched the Driven to Protect public-private partnership, which is the first between a state government and the DADSS Program.
The event featured remarks from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam; Shannon Valentine, Virginia Secretary of Transportation; Richard D. Holcomb, Commissioner of Virginia DMV; Stephen Story, President, James River Transportation; and Robert Strassburger, President and CEO, Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS). After the program, our honored guests also got an up-close look at the technology in action.
As part of the initiative, Driven to Protect is partnering with James River Transportation, a Virginia transportation leader based in Richmond for almost 100 years, to conduct some of the first in-vehicle, on-road test trials with prototype sensors in their vehicles. The first Ford Flex vehicles equipped with the Alcohol Detection System in the James River commercial fleet started operating from Richmond International Airport and Norfolk International Airport, taking clients wherever they need to go seamlessly and integrating the prototype technology collecting real-world operational data throughout the ride.
The feedback and data collected from drivers and passengers will be invaluable in finalizing the ADS technology as it is prepared for widespread commercialization. In just its first three weeks, the James River vehicles accumulated over 10,000 miles and the ADS sensors were in operation over 1,000 hours.
Attendees also got a chance to see new developments and prototypes like the BB-13 which is equipped with a proprietary system that allows the driver to start the vehicle and administer a sample for the Alcohol Detection System by simply sitting in the seat and giving a voice command. Check out Governor Northam trying it for himself below:
Last week, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) Highway Safety Office published its 2018 crash statistics. The newly-released data shows a decrease in the number of overall crash fatalities but a 12 percent increase in alcohol-related fatalities—from 248 in 2017 to 278 in 2018. Robert Strassburger, President & CEO of ACTS, responded to the news on behalf of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Research Program.
The DADSS Program was pleased to be a part of the 2019 Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities in Louisville, Kentucky. We presented on the panel “Addressing Impaired Driving with Autonomous Vehicles & Other New In-vehicle Technologies,” sharing the lifesaving mission that drives the public-private partnership, the challenges faced with developing a breakthrough technology, the progress made to date, and the role of the DADSS technology in an autonomous future.