Many visions of our self-driving future entail car cabins designed for passengers to relax, read and enjoy on-screen entertainment, but what will this mean for the prevalence of motion sickness? Jaguar Land Rover is getting out in front of this potential dilemma with what is says are algorithms and customized cabin settings that can reduces its effects by at least 60 percent.
While the exact mechanisms are still subject to debate, many believe motion sickness comes about when our eyes take in information that is out of whack with our vestibular system, the brain and inner ear network that manages our balance. This confuses our brain about whether we are stationary or not, and results in those familiar feelings of nausea.
Jaguar Land Rover isn't the first to consider these machinations in the world of self-driving vehicles. Ford has conducted some interesting research in the area, while we've also seen university researchers develop solutions based on augmented reality, and others building driving simulators to tease out the problems (and hopefully some solutions).
Over a total of 15,000 miles (24,000 km) worth of data, Jaguar Land Rover monitored passengers using biometric sensors for signs of sickness, as they performed tasks like checking emails. By matching this up with data on motion and vehicle dynamics, the company says its algorithms can attribute passengers a "wellness score," which can then be used to customize the driving and cabin settings to reduce car sickness by up to 60 percent.
Jaguar Land Rover points to the already-existing features of its vehicles that can reduce feelings of nausea as examples, such as various seat configurations that place infotainment screens at eye level, and cooling functions in its seats.
A car that recognizes when a passenger is unwell and makes adjustments to help them feel better would be a very promising development, but will still be a ways off. It is enthusiastic about its work so far, but Jaguar Land Rover notes that it is just the first phase of its research, with other projects underway to work towards this reality.
"This cutting-edge research has created a solution that, with its solid scientific foundation, can make traveling enjoyable, regardless of your susceptibility to motion sickness," says Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover's chief medical officer. "As a parent of young children, who are most susceptible to car sickness, I am particularly excited by the benefits this research can have in making long journeys comfortable and stress-free for families."
Source: Jaguar Land Rover
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more