A few years ago, a photo circulated online of Amway’s best-selling home air treatment system installed in the back of a car as an air purifier.
Amway R&D took notice of that clever and resourceful effort by the ABO to deal with a common problem many drivers face, breathing in toxic fumes while stuck in traffic.
“It showcased the immense need for an air treatment system within the car,” said Darius Machado, manager of product development for air treatment. “Someone has to be really, really concerned about the pollution in their car to be able to do this.”
In response, Amway fast-tracked creating an air treatment system designed specifically for vehicles in its Eastern markets, where interior air pollution levels—especially in big cities– can be up to 15 times worse than the air outdoors.
The result is the Atmosphere Drive, a car air purifier designed to safely and effectively reduce not only airborne tobacco smoke and exhaust but also chemicals escaping from the plastic in a car’s interior.
Atmosphere Drive, about the size of a tissue box, has the same three stage filtration technology as the Atmosphere Sky, which effectively removes up to 99 percent of airborne particles and reduces particle size as small as 0.015 microns.
Not only does Atmosphere Drive mark an evolution in Amway air treatment systems, but its origin illustrates the unique relationship Amway has with its business owners. The company listens when ABOs have new ideas on ways to better serve their customers.
“ABOs came to us and said they would like to clean the air in their cars,” said Machado, who has been with Amway for six years.
More than 90 percent of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds safety limits established by the World Health Organization. Air quality in homes can be two to five times worse than the air outdoors.
Drive is currently available in Southeast Asian markets such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, and soon in India where air pollution is significantly high.
In cars, pollutants can range from outside exhaust fumes to that new car smell, which is actually the off-gassing of chemicals such as formaldehyde from the plastics. Formaldehyde is in plastics to help them keep their shape for a longer period of time.
Atmosphere Drive’s three-layer filter first captures large contaminants, like hair and dust. The second layer, like a particulate filter, grabs smoke and smaller particles often invisible to the eye. The final layer traps gas and odors.
Pollution is worse for those in cars when sitting in standstill traffic versus cruising down the highway. That’s because passengers are confined in a box where the air is not moving, Machado explains.
Atmosphere Drive was developed from idea to market launch in 18 months. It helped that Amway’s home state of Michigan is also home to the country’s auto industry.
The 18 months doesn’t just include creating the product but testing it under the harshest of conditions: extreme temperatures and humidity.
One aspect Amway’s R&D team worked on at the Air Lab in Ada, Michigan was making sure the machine’s hum was soothing, not annoying.
“We listen to the different frequencies to determine what is white noise and what is noise that keeps you up,” Machado said.
The unit, with its two-tone ebony finish and simple, push-button control, was created to be both understated so it doesn’t distract drivers — yet intriguing enough to invite requests for demos.
What’s the next Atmosphere product?
“We’re continuously looking at ideas and what’s next and what fits in within the overall product portfolio,” Machado said. “Anything that’s going to benefit the user experience and the customer’s experience is something that we’re going to look into.”