Traditional vehicle air conditioning systems condition the entire cabin to a comfortable range of temperature and humidity regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle. The A/C system is designed to have enough capacity to provide comfort for transient periods when cooling down a soaked car. Similarly for heating, the entire cabin is typically warmed up to achieve comfort.
Localized heating and cooling, on the other hand, focuses on keeping the passenger comfortable by forming a micro climate around the passenger. This is more energy efficient since the system only needs to cool the person instead of the entire cabin space and cabin thermal mass. It also provides accelerated comfort for the passenger during the cooling down periods of soaked cars. Additionally, the system adapts to the number of passengers in the car, so as to not purposely condition areas that are not occupied.
The present paper reports on a fundamental study of localized cooling to achieve comfort in a vehicle environment. The individual cooling streams are evaluated by human comfort riders for effectiveness and limitations. Based on the local cooling studies, combination local cooling strategies are then created and evaluated by riders.