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I smell trouble: using multiple scents to convey driving-relevant information

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 14:51 authored by Dmitrijs DmitrenkoDmitrijs Dmitrenko, Emanuela Maggioni, Marianna Obrist
Cars provide drivers with task-related information (e.g. "Fill gas") mainly using visual and auditory stimuli. However, those stimuli may distract or overwhelm the driver, causing unnecessary stress. Here, we propose olfactory stimulation as a novel feedback modality to support the perception of visual notifications, reducing the visual demand of the driver. Based on previous research, we explore the application of the scents of lavender, peppermint, and lemon to convey three driving-relevant messages (i.e. "Slow down", "Short inter-vehicle distance", "Lane departure"). Our paper is the first to demonstrate the application of olfactory conditioning in the context of driving and to explore how multiple olfactory notifications change the driving behaviour. Our findings demonstrate that olfactory notifications are perceived as less distracting, more comfortable, and more helpful than visual notifications. Drivers also make less driving mistakes when exposed to olfactory notifications. We discuss how these findings inform the design of future in-car user interfaces.


SenseX - Sensory Experiences for Interactive Technologies; G1589; EUROPEAN UNION; H2020-ERC-2014-STG-638605

OWidgets - Design of a new non-existing layer of information delivery through smell; G2057; EUROPEAN UNION; 737576


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


ICMI '18: Proceedings of the 20th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction


Association for Computing Machinery

Page range


Event name

20th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction

Event location

Boulder, CO, USA

Event type


Event date

October 16-20th, 2018



Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Creative Technology Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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