Smelling technology could detect problems in self-driving taxis – Axios

Science & Technology

An AI-powered nose could help robotaxi operators sniff out problematic odors — like the lingering scent of a passenger's tuna sandwich — and reroute the vehicle to a maintenance hub for cleaning before its next ride.
Why it matters: With driverless taxis, there's no one onboard to keep passengers from smoking or leaving behind offensive odors, from food to vomit. But new digital olfaction technology could be able to help.
What's happening: Aryballe, a Grenoble, France-based startup, uses biochemical sensors, optics and machine learning to detect odor and turn it into data that can be stored in a smell library, journalist Martin Kahl writes for Ground Truth, a blog about autonomous vehicles.
Automakers are interested in digital olfaction to monitor and detect nuisances, such as cigarette smoke or a fuel leak.
How it works: Humans sense when an object emits odor molecules that are carried through the air into our noses, activating receptors made of millions of olfactory nerve cells.
"Our digital nose uses similar receptors to those in your nose. Whatever your nose smells, our sensor can smell."