Nissan knows you're sleepy, sends a scent to keep you alert

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Nissan safetyFor those drivers tired of depending on triple mochachinos to keep them alert during long drives, Nissan is about to introduce a new method of bringing a drowsy driver back to alertness.

It's new Fuga model will be equipped with an attention assist system that will inject a burst of fresh forest scent into the a/c airstream to reinvigorate the driver when necessary.

The feature is only part of Nissan's innovative approach to driver safety.

The company recently exhibited a concept car that uses a facial recognition system to watch a driver for signs of drowsiness, as well as an odor detector sensitive enough to tell if there is alcohol in the sweat on a driver's palm.

But back to the scent waker-upper. Fresh forest? I suggest that when the company brings this tech to the U.S. it might want to consider other scents that could work better on the American consumer.

How about the smell of the Macy's cosmetics counter? The odor of a fall high school football game? The fumes wafting up from pit row at a NASCAR event? The sweaty, sultry smell of a pole dancer? Turkey and pumpkin pies cooking on Thanksgiving Day? Salt water and jet ski exhaust? Loaded diaper? What smell would bring you wide awake?

Nissan is trailing the industry leader in sleepy driver recognition, though. Mercedes-Benz is introducing a system that monitors the driver's behavior and uses lights and sound to warn him when he appears to be nodding off.

Scent is rapidly becoming a marketing battleground in the auto industry. According to Engadget, KUMHO tires now offers a new line of tires that replaces the annoying smell of fresh rubber with lavender. The Lavender Scent Technology is just the first offering, however; orange and jasmine scented tires are already on the planning boards.

We've come a long, long way from those pine-tree air fresheners hanging from the rear-view mirror. Thankfully. For alertness, I just tune my radio to a call-in show about politics. I can't go to sleep while I'm screaming at the radio.
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