Automated & Connected

Automotive olfaction consortium to improve AV comfort and safety through digital smell technology

Aryballe Technologies, a digital olfaction company, has launched the Digital Olfaction Automotive Consortium (DOAC) to address industry trends in new mobility services and the evolution of self-driving cars. DOAC, with members from the automotive industry, will establish the standards for odor measurement in the automotive industry and inform olfaction—smelling and the sense of smell—product development and services.

Humans can sense an average of 1 trillion odors, cites a release from Aryballe, but can’t often distinguish between them. Unlike color and sound, smell does not fall along a clear spectrum, making it hard to compare various odors. But Aryballe is helping to change this by evaluating characteristics of individual scent molecules and testing them against a database of known smells using a combination of biochemistry, advanced optics, and machine learning, states the release.

Its first product, the NeOse Pro, delivers this unique olfaction technology in an easy-to-use, handheld unit, says Aryballe. As the automotive industry adopts new models like the shared economy and robo-taxis, olfaction measurement companies have the unique opportunity to improve the user experience in a way that can speed adoption.

In this scenario, digital olfaction is the key to quantify smells in the car—both nuisance, such as cigarette smell, and those indicating component malfunctions, such as a fuel leak—to ensure health and comfort of drivers.

In addition to setting standards, DOAC will collaborate to create an accessible reference database for odors, evaluate prototype sensors and analytic software versions from Aryballe Technologies, and also receive substantial engineering support in their proof-of-concept innovation initiatives.

“We feel that creating alignment at this critical juncture in the automotive industry is key to developing standards for future digital olfaction products that fit the requirements of the market,” said Sam Guilaumeì, Aryballe CEO. “We’re excited to build partnerships that will realize our vision of miniaturized, reliable, low-cost olfaction sensors that resonate across the automotive value chain.”

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The founding members of the DOAC met at CES 2019 to set the group’s initiatives and priorities for the year. Aryballe expects to expand the group to include more OEMs, suppliers, and fleet service providers with additional programs still to be announced.


Mark Miller is a contributing writer to SAE International. He has worked as a technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics, and Internet of Things technologies.