Auto suppliers scramble to develop alcohol detection technology

Asahi Kasei will ultimately not serve as the Tier 1 supplier of the technology to automakers, but it will likely get it into passenger vehicles through other in-cabin components, Franchy said.

The burgeoning new business opportunity reflects what has been underway at Asahi Kasei, a corporation with $14.7 billion in revenue in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2022. The big company has been broadening its business base and seeking new markets.

When Asahi Kasei is known at all, it’s typically for its decades-old position in chemicals. But in more recent years, the company has built a presence in structural materials, electronics, medical devices and diagnostic equipment.

The chance to create a new-age vehicle safety feature brings together different company knowledge sets, such as electronics and medical devices.

Franchy said Asahi Kasei wants to reposition itself to be more involved in the US auto industry as more advanced technologies come out of North American engineering and R&D centers. Of the company’s 46,750 global employees, 11,000 work in the US in all fields.

“There are new product opportunities and new customer relations that are possible in the United States right now,” Franchy said. “The US is primed for growth.”