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Automakers are hoping a new innovation can help them catch up to Tesla's technology: 'We've got to do something'

Tesla was among the first to include the feature in its cars. 

Corsi-Rosenthal Box, New innovation can help them catch up to Tesla's technology

Photo Credit: iStock

Electric vehicles are helping fight pollution by getting people to shift away from gas-powered cars. Now, they're also helping customers avoid pollution on a personal level — by filtering out polluted air so that drivers can breathe easier inside their cars.

A device for filtering the air coming into your car was first invented by Richard Corsi, dean of the college of engineering at the University of California, Davis, and his friend Jim Rosenthal, who named it the Corsi-Rosenthal Box, according to Bloomberg. The pair first developed the device as a response to schools not taking air purification seriously during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they realized that the same technology could be applied to cars.

The Corsi-Rosenthal Box really began to catch on as a response to the growing number of wildfires this past year — a result of the increased extreme weather events caused by dirty energy usage. 

"What's fascinating is that wildfire smoke seems to have caused a more extreme response than COVID. It suddenly made people realize we've got to do something about [air filtration in cars]," Corsi told Bloomberg.

Now, car companies have caught on and are developing their own advanced air filtration systems. Tesla, so often at the forefront of new technologies, was among the first to include such a feature in its cars, as Electrek reported, somewhat bizarrely branding it as a "bioweapon defense mode."

Now, more car companies are following suit and offering similar features, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and add-on devices like the Corsi-Rosenthal Box can work with basically any car. There is reason to be optimistic that, in the near future, advanced air filtration could simply become a standard feature.

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