Nissan is raising awareness that people should hit the bottle before driving, though before you lash out on the Japanese carmaker, know that it’s referring to…water and not alcohol.
Quoting a 2015 study, funded by the European Hydration Institute, the automaker reports that dehydrated drivers are known to have made more than double the number of mistakes on the road, which is equivalent to people with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent.
It also appears that approximately two-thirds of drivers cannot recognize the symptoms of dehydration, such as tiredness, dizziness, headache, and dry mouth, all which lead to slower reaction times. As a result, Nissan has come up with an innovative solution, which could become “a possible future automotive use for advanced ‘smart’ materials”.
This comes in the shape of a sweat-sensing technology coating that was applied to a Nissan Juke’s steering wheel and front seats. Simply named ‘SOAK’, it alerts those behind the wheel that they need to drink more water, by measuring their hands and clothes sweat.
Developed in conjunction with Dutch design brand Droog, the coating changes colors when it comes in contact with perspiration, turning yellow when detecting dehydration, and blue when people are rehydrated.
“While many athletes are well-versed on keeping hydrated, many people outside the sporting sphere remain unaware of the impact of dehydration on physiological performance”, said Dr. Harj Chaggar, medical consultant for Nismo. “Sweat-sensing technology, built into a car, is an innovative way of highlighting this, aiding prevention by warning the driver directly.”
Despite adding this technology to a Juke to demonstrate how it works, Nissan has no current plans of making it an option on the sub-compact SUV.