Meet Nissan's ‘smellmaster’ responsible for checking odour of new vehicles
The odour of the interior of a vehicle is quite important for a user and Nissan knows it. Ryunosuke Ino, known as Nose of Nissan or the smellmaster, is the man behind refining the odour of the automaker's new cars. Ino is responsible for checking the aroma of new vehicles along with the air conditioning systems. He also checks how the smell of a car can change over time.
As studies have shown that smell can trigger strong memories as it often leaves a lasting impression, the smellmaster's job is to not only focus on the first impression but also on how users of the vehicle perceive those odours within the cabin during a drive. “First of all, I try to identify where the smell comes from. I try to locate it and evaluate from the vehicle user’s perspective, such as accessing the glovebox or using the sun visor mirror. I position my torso and head just like they would to gain an accurate impression," informed Ino.
Ino shared a vehicle's cabin volatile organic compound (VOC) evaluation process that takes place in three days, he and his team sniff the headrests, dashboards, mirrors, glove compartments, visors, seats, ceilings, cupholders, carpeting, and any components with measurable scent. These checks are typically done within three to five minutes to ensure proper evaluation before the nose adjusts to the interior smell and if something seems awry, the team repeats those checks to determine the cause followed by corrective measures.
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Nissan informed air circulation and exposure to sunlight are crucial factors that impact car smell hence the team uses a special environmentally sealed testing room controlled for heat and humidity, with a lighting system that simulates intense sunlight. “We consider various conditions cars face such as moderate to high ambient temperatures, which can intensify a smell," added Ino.
The smellmaster conveyed after these checks, he takes some time to recalibrate his sensitivity to all smells. “Some experts have their own way of reaching a baseline, such as smelling coffee beans, to calibrate. In my case, I reset my nose by smelling my arm near my elbow. This is familiar, so it prepares me to detect new scents," added Ino.