YOKOSUKA, Japan — In a riposte to those who think a reliance on cars is unhealthy, new Nissan models will feature air conditioners that pump breathable vitamin C and stress-reducing seats, the firm said Wednesday.
The group is also looking to install "friendly" speedometers that can further improve the in-car atmosphere with timely reminders of wedding anniversary dates or birthdays, in the event the driver forgets.
"We want drivers to feel that they are healthier staying in the car instead of on the outside," a Nissan engineer said Wednesday at a test drive event outside Tokyo.
The automaker plans to introduce air conditioners in its cars that spray vitamin C to moisturize skin and as well as air purifiers developed by Sharp.
Nissan also expects to equip its cars with heating "easy chairs" that incorporate NASA research to enable better blood circulation and reduce the chances of back pain during long drives.
The innovations were announced along with a raft of driver safety features the automaker plans to equip its new cars with in the next two to three years, including anti-collision technology.
As competition among carmakers increases and the concept of automobiles expands beyond transportation, manufacturers are looking to add value.
"The emotional aspect of a car has become increasingly important and as customer needs diversify," said Nissan engineer Kenichi Tanaka.
The anti-collision technology, which is similar to radar systems used by airplanes and ships, monitors the distance with a vehicle in front and can prevent collisions at forward speeds of up to 60 kilometers (40 miles) per hour.
The system tells the driver to decelerate with a beeping sound and slows the vehicle by automatically raising the accelerator pedal and partially braking, Nissan officials explained.
The updated designs and technology come as Nissan is bracing for the year-end launch of the all-electric Leaf in Japan and the United States, which has become the fulcrum of its green ambitions.
The group lags behind rivals Toyota and Honda, with only one hybrid, the Altima, which uses Toyota's technology.
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