The Alcolaser is a laser device developed in Russia which is able to detect alcohol in vehicles as they pass by the device.
The device which has been dubbed “BOUTON” (flower bud) was displayed at the International Exhibition of Police and Military equipment in Moscow in October.
The manufacturer claims that the device is capable of detecting low levels of alcohol (ethanol) in vehicles passing by the device at speeds of up to 150 km per hour, works in all weather conditions and requires no complex maintenance.
The device is capable of scanning the cab of a vehicle in o.1 seconds from a distance of 25 meters. Coupled with a plate reader it can capture the license plate of the vehicle in question which can then be transmitted by Wi-Fi signal to police at another location. Police can then stop the vehicle and perform further tests to determine if the driver is in fact impaired.
Impaired driving is a big problem in Russia. In 2010 Russia experienced 11,000 accidents that involved impaired drivers.
The manufacturer and Russian police will be conducting further tests on the device next year and it is anticipated that it will be deployed in Russia in 2012 or 2013.
The science behind the approach is not new. At least one American company started working on a similar device in 1995 but as of now I am not aware of any similar product available on the North American Market.
At this time there is no indication as to the cost of the device.