Autonomous vehicles to intensify motion sickness

A new study suggests self-driving cars will make motion sickness worse:

For adults, motion sickness will be more of an issue in self-driving vehicles than in conventional vehicles. Some are expected to experience motion sickness often, while others may actually feel sick every time they’re riding in an autonomous vehicle, a study by researchers at The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute revealed…

Mr. Sivak and his co-researcher Brandon Schoettle looked at the three main factors that cause motion sickness (conflict between vestibular and visual inputs; inability to anticipate the direction of motion; and lack of control over the direction of motion) and determined that they are elevated in self-driving vehicles…

It’s become evident that self-driving cars will replace traditional cars in the future, and when this happens, all adults (who are most prone to motion sickness) will be passengers at all times. Mr. Sivak clarified that being a passenger in an autonomous vehicle will be quite different than riding along in a train or other mode of public transportation, for, unlike trains, self-driving cars will be subject to more lateral acceleration/deceleration as well as longitudinal acceleration/deceleration that is drastically less smooth. The small windows won’t help either.

The other major factor in the increased prevalence of motion sickness is what adults will do whilst in cars instead of driving. In an opinion survey of 3,255 adults from the U.S., China, India, Japan, Australia and the U.K., respondents named reading, talking/texting, sleeping, watching movies/TV, working and playing games as the activities they’ll engage in while riding in self-driving cars. According to the study, almost all of the activities mentioned worsen the frequency and severity of motion sickness.

An interesting side effect of a new technology. But, this means that automakers can/should include virtual reality devices to ease the ride – they won’t just be cars but rather entertainment pods! Everyone can be like the kids of today who ride in the expensive minivans and SUVs watching their split screen entertainment systems while holding their tablets and smartphones…

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