Nissan's new Fuga vehicles will have an air conditioning system that emulates forest scents and refreshing breezes to make driving more comfortable. The company says the air conditioner uses a number of technologies to control cabin temperature, ventilation, aroma and humidity. It can even detect bad smells from outside and shuts its vents to prevent their entry. The system is based on the results of a joint research study with the Tokyo University of Science on the effects of aroma on human mental activity.
On top of the benefits of conventional AC units, such as air-cleaning and temperature control, the Forest AC also controls air flow, humidity, aroma and other ambient factors that can influence the physiological state and senses of the driver and passengers. Nissan says this is the first automotive AC system to make driving more comfortable based on studies of drivers' mental activity.
Breezy Air delivers enhanced comfort through gentle, fluctuating ‘natural breezes’ by randomly changing the volume of air flowing through the vents. The system adjusts to sunlight and outside temperatures to control the ventilation patterns and can even alter temperatures within the vehicle so occupants on both the sunny and shady sides of the vehicle feel comfortable. Nissan employed an original body-temperature model that determines skin temperature by simulating heat conduction and the human body temperature mechanism.
Nissan studied the effects of aromas on human mental activity and how they alleviate boredom and stimulate the brain. As a result, the Forest AC system intermittently and alternately dispenses two unique aromas, borneol and leaf alcohol. Borneol is a combination of Kapur wood, lavender and other essential oils to promote calm and focus, while leaf alcohol is found in most plants and is thought to have a calming effect while reducing fatigue. The aromas are dispensed via an interchangeable cartridge (with a one-year life).
The Forest AC's newly-developed humidity sensor eliminates condensation on windows while the on-board dehumidifier prevents cabin air from drying out. The dehumidifier’s sensors take account of exterior temperature and vehicle speed to deliver the best results. It’s the first time Nissan has employed humidity control in an air conditioning system.
Auto air control with odor/exhaust sensors
optimizes the oxygen levels of the vehicle's cabin through an automatic intake control system, coupled to multiple wide-range, highly sensitive micro-sensors, which prevents the inflow of unpleasant air into the cabin. And not just exhaust fumes from other cars. This unit can detect other bad odors - roadkill, a truck full of fertilizer, or a sewage plant – and closes the intake vents as needed without constant driver input. The system also can increase airflow if it detects cigarette odor or “other unpleasant interior smells”.
New-generation plasmacluster ions
The Forest AC's new-generation plasmacluster ion system developed by Sharp improves cabin air quality by generating higher densities (10x) of plasmacluster ions than in previous systems. These ions reduce airborne microbes and minimize odors which stick to interior trim surfaces (odor substances are destroyed by OH radicals produced from the ions).
High-performance filter for removing pollen, odors and allergens
The Forest AC uses a high-performance filter that is similar to those already in use in high-end, intelligent room air conditioners. It is made from material impregnated with grapeseed polyphenol is more effective in removing pollen and deactivate allergens in the cabin than conventional filters.
The Forest AC is scheduled for use on the new Fuga model later in Nissan's current fiscal year.