In last July, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced the development of new air conditioning system called, “Forest AC”. This new AC system creates optimum cabin environment by controlling temperature, ventilation, aroma, and humidity. You say, aroma? Yes, I know. Nissan says the new system was based on a research on effects of aroma on human mental activity. You can read the rest as I was curious about what can really do with aroma. There are some systems out there to control automatic temperature of interior of your car and add pollen filters to help you make comfortable while you drive. All these system goes under ubiquitous computing. This new system even goes further by blocking order and removing order using “ion”. Making feel comfortable as you drive is a good idea, but you wonder about the process of designing system like that.
“Nissan develops technology to set new standards in terms of comfort, quality and other factors for every aspect of the automobile, putting human characteristics first, based on the Life on Board concept, which is designed to deliver more joy of driving.”
Where am I going with this? Well, I am wondering if engineers in general think because they can develop system like this, they will develop it. I wondered if they ever consider users and context of driving in general. You can put as many sensors as you can install in a vehicle, but I wonder if they try to understand the context of driving. Making driver “not think” may not apply to this context. Did they just forget about “experience of driving”? Humidity and airflow control maybe good idea, but aroma has some issues. I think “scent” is another sensor drivers use to detect something wrong in a car. Is it good idea to take away users natural senses while driving? I thought drivers should be using all the senses to connect with vehicle and roads to create “driving experience”. I wonder what Dourish would say about relationship between a driver, car, and the road. Did he think these senses ruin your interaction with the world surround us?