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:
In October 2019, the Driven to Protect team attended at the annual Manassas Fall Jubilee in Historic Downtown Manassas, Virginia. This highly recognized craft and artisan festival attracted nearly 30,000 people from across Virginia and the metro D.C. area.
In March of 2019, the DADSS Program received OMB approval to run a series of controlled, in-vehicle tests involving sober drivers and drinking passengers to determine how the sensors respond to real-world driving conditions. These tests began in Massachusetts in late June, in partnership with McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate as well as at KEA Technologies, Inc. The data collected from this research will inform the development and calibration of the next generation of breath sensors, as well as future vehicle integration.
In September 2019, the Driven to Protect team attended the annual Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The three-day festival covered 32 city blocks along the boardwalk and attracted thousands of people from Virginia and across the U.S.