Instant gratification

We want what we want, when we want it, how we want it

David Matthews / January 02, 2019
David Matthews

Who doesn’t love the smell of a new car? It’s an intoxicating blend of luxury, power and success.

The scent is so appealing that a variety of air fresheners and deodorizers are available to keep your car smelling brand new for years.

However, a recent study found that “new car smell” isn’t beloved everywhere in the world. In China it’s considered revolting.

Researchers at J.D. Power found that consumers in China consider that distinctive smell to be the biggest problem with new vehicles, far worse than bad fuel economy, engine noises and safety issues.

Since China is the largest market for vehicles in the world, car manufacturers are taking notice.

Ford has hired 18 smell-testers at their research labs in China, who are known as “Golden Noses.” Their job is to assess the scent of every item in newly manufactured Ford vehicles and ensure that they won’t offend the sensitive noses of Chinese consumers.

The company also has filed a patent application for a system that would allow its autonomous and semi-autonomous cars to “bake” the factory-fresh aroma out of themselves.

The cars would self-park in the sun, automatically crack the windows and turn the heater on full-blast. Scientists believe that the heat will accelerate the release of the organic compounds and chemicals in the car’s materials that make up the new car smell.

Pie in the sky

Pizza Hut is working on a different concept for baking in their vehicles.

Knowing that customers want a fresh, hot pizza delivered to their door in mere minutes, Pizza Hut has partnered with Toyota to create a pizza oven on wheels.

The Toyota Tundra PIE Pro is a concept zero-emission pickup truck with an automated pizza kitchen built right into the truck bed.

When a pizza is ordered, robot arms pull out a preassembled pizza from the built-in refrigerator, and then place it in a high-speed ventless conveyor oven.

Once cooked, the pizza is transferred onto a cutting board by another robot arm, and then sliced and placed into a pizza box. The whole process takes about seven minutes and can happen en route to your home.

The Tundra PIE Pro truck is built from a Tundra SR5, with its gas-powered drivetrain replaced with a hydrogen fuel-cell electric power unit adapted from the Toyota Mirai.

Pizza Hut is clearly committed to being an industry leader in pizza technology that no one knew we needed.In 2016 the company created the world’s first playable DJ turntable pizza box, and in 2017 it introduced limited edition high-top sneakers called “Pie Tops” that can order pizza when you push a button hidden in the tongue.

Stop the music

Whether you’re driving around town delivering pizzas or hitting the open road, there’s no better companion than music.

But new research finds that your music preferences can affect your driving.

The study from British car loan financier Moneybarn found that high-energy songs, loud volumes, and tempos above 120 beats per minute can subconsciously make people drive faster and dull reaction times.

Using data from music streaming service Spotify, Moneybarn compiled a list of the songs most often played on road trips, and then ranked each tune based on tempo and energy level to determine which are most likely to get drivers in trouble.

The song they found to be the most dangerous is “American Idiot” (Green Day), followed by “Party in the U.S.A.” (Miley Cyrus), “Mr. Brightside” (The Killers), “Don’t Let Me Down” (The Chainsmokers), and the road trip classic “Born to Run” (Bruce Springsteen).

Only 29% of the analyzed songs were determined to be safe, with top honors going to “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin), “Under the Bridge” (Red Hot Chili Peppers), “God’s Plan” (Drake), “Africa” (Toto) and “Location” (Khalid).

Researchers believe that listening to nothing but mid-tempo, low-energy songs like these at moderate volumes can reduce the risk of traffic citations, but most drivers say they’d rather just get pulled over.

About the Author

Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.

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