Car makers work on solutions for car sickness in self-driving car
Although almost half of people are prone to car sickness, car manufacturers hardly paid attention to the phenomenon. Until recently, because with the arrival of the self-driving car, this is going to change. Reason for not taking notice of the sickness is that most cars only have the driver on board, and the driver seldom suffers from car sickness.
“Car sickness is usually triggered when the organ of balance in each ear is disturbed by contradictory signals in the brains, caused by not watching the road”, explains professor human movement science, Jelte Bos. “The driver, on the contrary, is usually focusing on the road and even participating on the movements of the car. So he seldom gets sick.”
One of the car manufacturers working on a solution for kinetosis, the medical term for car sickness, is Ford. “Passengers in the self-driving car will be working, reading, watching a series… so the risk on being carsick is increasing”, says dr. Eike Schmidt of Ford’s European research centre in Aachen. “It’s up to us to find a solution for it.”
Creating an artificial horizon
Car manufacturers, however, are working on diverse technologies. Online taxi service Uber is developing a system with moving chairs when the car is braking or taking a bend. The French Citroën introduces special sun glasses with a blue fluid integrated in the edges, mimicking the horizon.
Until then people will have to seek solace in makeshift measures, especially for children, who tend to be more susceptible to car sickness, by giving them ginger, a higher seat and by making them watch out of the window, with their heads against the trembling window shield.