Nissan Forest AC: The electronic nose is born

It's safe to reach for the beans -- Nissan has just dreamed up an advanced air conditioning system that can sniff out and eliminate bad odours

We thought we'd seen it all: cars with OLED displays on the outside ... cars that talk to you... cars that brake automatically to prevent accidents. Clearly we've haven't, because Nissan has just dreamed up an advanced air conditioning system that can sniff out and eliminate bad odours.

Forest AC, developed in conjunction with the Tokyo University of Science, has four major features. The most impressive of these is the automatic inside/outside air-control system, which uses the world's first sensor for detecting bad smells. When an unpleasant odour is detected outside of the vehicle, Forest AC closes the car's intake vents to prevent passengers getting a nostrilful of fermenting cow dung.

The system also has an interior sensor located at 'knee level', which detects odours originating from the cabin. When a pong is detected, the intake vents open automatically to increase airflow, and a separate unit pumps 'plasmacluster ions' into the cabin to maintain cabin air quality, reduce the number of airborne microbes and minimise the likelihood of odours sticking to interior trim surfaces. Yes, Nissan is going all-out in the war on smells.

Forest AC doesn't stop there. It's also capable, in theory, of reducing road rage. The system intermittently and alternately fills the cabin with the aromas of borneol and leaf alcohol, compounds that are thought to reduce driver aggression while boosting mental acuity. So if some douche cuts you off, just take a deep breath and the urge to smash his face in should simply melt away.

Not enough? How about the built-in dehumidifier, which stops cabin air drying out? Or the Breezy Air feature, which creates gentle, fluctuating 'natural breezes' by randomly altering the volume of air flowing through the upper and front vent outlets? We reckon you could get the same effect by hiring a child to switch the AC on and off at random, but you've got to admit it's pretty clever.

One would imagine a system as far-fetched as this would never see the light of day, but Nissan tells us Forest AC will be released this year on the forthcoming Nissan Fuga. We can't wait. Stay tuned for a full bums-on test.

 

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