Devices aiming to detect cannabis-impaired drivers
Two start-ups are taking aim at safety in order to capitalize on the billion dollar cannabis industry that will become legal in Canada on Oct. 17.
Guard-Ex is a Waterloo company working on an impairment detection device that uses virtual reality goggles.
The device tracks physical indicators of impairment such as eye movement, brain activity and heart monitoring.
Another start-up, SannTek in Kitchener, is working on a breathalyzer that uses nanotechnology.
The device will focus on individual molecules detectable in breath, which company officials say will produce substantially fewer false positive results than current technology.
“It’s too early to publicly say where we’re at right now, but definitely when we release this device we’ll be above 90 per cent,” said Noah DeBrincat, CEO of SannTek.
Police services are currently slated to enter legalization using a device called the Drager DrugTest 5000.
It has been criticized for producing false negatives in drivers, likely due to cannabis’ presence in the body’s system for 28 days after use.
The window of impairment, however, is estimated at just six hours.
Both companies are hoping to capitalize on the massive industry legalizing on Oct. 17.
Researchers have estimated the Canadian government will bring in approximately $1.2 billion a year from cannabis from tax.