Injecting Aromas into Vehicle Cabin to Maintain Driver Alertness?

Injecting Aromas into Vehicle Cabin to Maintain Driver Alertness?

To date, most vehicles that have a system that addresses driver fatigue simply warn the driver that they may be tired, and to take a break- in other words, a passive system.  But in its new S-Class model, Mercedes-Benz will feature a system that will actually intervene on the driver’s behalf, actively helping them to remain alert and awake.

In response to the driver saying “I’m tired” aloud, the “Energizing” system will activate up to four systems to help increase the driver’s alertness, including:

  • Interior lights
  • Temperature adjustment
  • Seat massage system
  • Fragrance

That’s right, the vehicle will actually pump a fragrance that helps to increase a driver’s alertness!  Better viewed as “enhancing the driver’s environment” than just “gassing the driver,” Mercedes-Benz is applying research regarding humans’ responses to aromas.  As an example, you may already know that the smell of peppermint tends to wake up the brain- so be sure to recommend that to your students before they take a test!

While the solution might seem simple, the problem of drowsy driving is a big one.  Each year, it is estimated that over 800 people are killed as a result of drowsy driving.  Plus, over 40,000 people are injured.  This adds up to an estimated economic cost to society of over $100 billion.

So kudos to Mercedes-Benz for continuing to develop solutions to help keep drivers awake.  Now if they could just inject the aroma of French fries, that would be great…


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