Keith Kelsen Scent Narrative: Mobilizing Molecules

Mobilizing Molecules Means Scent in Vehicle

Mobilizing Molecules means that Scent has entered the Automotive food chain. The next generation automobile will not be “your father’s Oldsmobile”.  Automakers are making a massive shift in how cars are perceived and experienced. It is happening to “shift moods” and provide “wellbeing” inside the vehicle.

We have discussed the power of the experience in previous Scent Narratives, but now it is front and center, with manufacturers from Mercedes Benz to Hyundai showing concept cars and even limited production series. Many manufacturers are hiring full time “noses” and adding to scent teams. As the automotive experience evolves, the question is “What next?” Ride along as we explore the latest trends.

Software Defines Automobiles

Revolutions from power plants to autonomy have shifted  automotive design. Automakers are now building the Software Defined Car (SDC). There will be 250 million connected vehicles on the road by 2020, according to Gartner. The market for connected car services will grow to $148 billion according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

Cars are More Capable than Ever

PwC claims this growth is pushed by the demand for connected car components and technology designs for Millennials. There may be a rise of new digital business opportunities from car sharing to environmental experiences inside the car. For example, the Samsung Drvline brings SDC into car hardware and software production. The Drvline platform is designed to position Samsung as a partner for car manufacturers and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) providers. Whether mobilizing entertainment or Scent molecules, MaaS will change our automotive experience. All these changes have consequences.

Bad News for the Autonomous Car

One of the biggest promises of fully autonomous travel is that passengers could do more than just listen to “Books on tape”. Now they have time to catch up on work or read a book. However, the side effect is Motion Sickness.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (and other studies) show that for adults, motion sickness increases in self-driving vehicles over conventional vehicles.  The survey of 3,255 adults from the U.S., China, India, Japan, Australia and the U.K., profiled expected activities including working, reading, talking/texting, sleeping, watching movies/TV, and playing games. The international study revealed (33%) experience motion sickness often, while others (22%) may feel sick and even vomit every time they’re riding in an autonomous vehicle.

The 3 Main Contributing Factors to Motion Sickness

University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute Study looked at the 3 main factors that cause motion sickness. They are:

1. Conflict between vestibular and visual inputs
2. Inability to anticipate the direction of motion
3. Lack of control over the direction of motion

“All three factors, to varying degrees, are more frequently experienced by vehicle passengers than by drivers, who (before autonomous cars) rarely experience motion sickness.” – Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, authors of  the report

Historically Motion Sickness has Plagued Many

Humans adapting to new technology always has consequences. Probably since the invention of the wheel, motion sickness has been associated with transportation. The poet Du Guji (725~777 AD) wrote a poem in which he uses the term cart-sickness (literally cart-bitterness).  The original meaning can be found in early texts of the Greek poet Semonides, who in the 7th/6th century BC already used “ναυτία” [nausiao derivitive]to describe such a feeling. It’s human to get motion sickness and now new technology like Autonomous cars and Virtual Reality are exacerbating it.

Autonomous vehicles need some sort of countermeasure.  Essential oils and Scent is one of the most effective measures being tested.  A home remedy for generations, its widely acknowledged that the right Scent can mitigate nausea. As we have detailed in previous Scent Narratives, Scent can also alter moods, awaken the driver or even create an ambience that is like the destination.  This could change the whole experience of travel.

In Car Experiences will be Beyond Imagining Today

History in transportation is happening now with the connected car and its software. Innovations in entertainment, mobilized work and aesthetics are shifting.  All this means is that a car’s function is now defined by software components that weave and layer together environmental & mood sensors, safety systems, and visual interfaces. A part of this development will be the addition of Scent to create unique environments and offset negative reactions to the lack of control.

SDC can enable a whole host of revolutionary changes and stretch the adaptability of the car all the way to the end of its physical lifespan. It is in its early stage, yet we are already seeing the first rollout of SDC through Tesla Motors and soon by established companies like GM.

What’s Driving all the Change?

Tesla started the movement that seems behind major manufacturers shifts and even legislation requiring them.  Electric cars are here to stay. Charging stations are available worldwide.  Hydrogen is behind. Toyota teamed up with Valero to set up refueling stations across California. Initially as a test-bed for the Mirai,  it supports both the Hyundai ix35 FCEV & the Honda Clarity. Toyota launched its first production fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in Japan at the end of 2014 and began sales in California, in 2015. The lease of the Mirai includes the average usage of hydrogen in the payment.

Sage Wisdom from an Automotive Icon

Announcing his retirement next year, Sergio Marchionne, the longest-serving CEO in the auto industry and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, stated that developing technologies will alter consumers’ car-buying decisions within 7 years. He stated:

“Carmakers have less than a decade to reinvent themselves or risk being commoditized amid a seismic shift in how vehicles are powered, driven and purchased. Auto companies need to quickly separate the stuff that will be swallowed by commodity from the brand stuff.”-Sergio Marchionne

Under 50% of the cars sold worldwide will be fully combustion-powered by 2025, Sergio Marchionne predicts. The future of propulsion and autonomy is shifting the whole experience of car design. Electric cars are here and charging stations are available worldwide.  As mentioned before, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda have launched  hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle.

A New Wave: Creating a Car like an iPhone

Byton, another brand new car company, revealed its first car this month, the night before CES 2018.  (Byton is short for Bytes on Wheels) An all-electric SUV to compete with Tesla Model X, it’s an example of the automotive interior of the future. Designers created a“digital lounge” style interior, with an interactive touch and motion sensor HD screen stretching across the entire length of what was the dashboard. There’s even an iPod sized touchscreen in the center of the steering wheel, and 2 big screens on the back of the front seats.

Byton co-founders Carsten Breitfeld, CEO and Daniel Kirchert, President, head an executive staff that previously worked at Apple and BMW. Byton is covering the iPhone qualities in a car designed for luxury, electric & autonomy. At $45,000, the Byton is the result of a Chinese investment to disrupt Tesla. The Byton  will be at Level 4 autonomy by 2020. Byton plans to sell the car next year in the world’s largest market, China,  then internationally in 2020.

Another New Wave: Cars Like Android and Alexa

Panasonic announced it is bringing Google Assistant to the car via its Skip Generation In-Vehicle Infotainment system, upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo and Google Assistant capabilities.  Amazon is partnering to bring its Alexa voice assistant to their car infotainment systems. The Alexa Onboard system could adjust the climate control, call up a favorite Scent, cool or heat the seats, change the music playlist, and even direct the nav. Panasonic’s system will also let drivers interact with their smart home gadgets.
JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) has partnered with cellular chip maker, Qualcomm. JLR vehicles will now interact with your smart home appliances. Potentially you would be the able to control your home while driving home from work. Jaguar says its I-Pace electric car, will be the first to make use of this new technology, called HomeLink Connect.

Automotive supplier Faurecia and professional services company Accenture will focus on “cognitive technologies to reinvent the onboard user experience” plus services to enhance health and wellbeing in the car.  Faurecia and Accenture are incorporating AI (artificial intelligence), AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), even blockchain technology and quantum computing.

Scent is Essential to the Next Automotive Wave

The permeating technology shift,creates stress for some. It’s difficult to mitigate the new “stressors” that come from innovation. Awareness in the car may be key to the shift.  A proven method to create a sense of wellbeing and even wake people up is Scent.  In the next generation, the car may sense your Road Rage and choose the appropriate Scent to calm you down. Mobilizing Molecules will become virtually standard in all forms of transportation. The road ahead, speeding headlong into our future, smells great.