Thanks to a car technology developed by IT giant Google, the days of drunk driving could soon be over.
The news comes soon after the signing of a bill by California Governor Jerry Brown that clears the way for self-driving cars to share the state's freeways with other traffic, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
AdvertisementGoogle co-founder Sergey Brin, who has overseen the development of a fleet of self-driving Google vehicles that have clocked almost 500,000km in testing, said that the implications of self-driving cars for the wider community were widespread.
"This can really enable huge classes of people effectively trapped or hampered to get around," Brin said.
"Including those too young, too old, or sometimes too intoxicated," he said.
The technology has the potential to make a sizeable dent in the road toll, with drink driving estimated to be a factor in almost one in five fatal accidents.
Safety authorities have used interlock devices, which lock the ignition until the driver blows into a breath-testing device, for repeat drink-driving offenders in an attempt to curb the alcohol-related toll, but determined offenders have found ways around the scheme.
The self-driving technology also promises mobility to vision-impaired drivers.
"It obviously seems the stuff of science fiction," Brin said of the technology.
"It is a fascinating area to work on but it really has the power to change people's lives, which is why I am really excited about it," he added.