Defeating motion sickness

As a youngster I suffered from motion sickness in the back of the car and, besides putting a dampener on the excitement of going on holiday, my Mother made me drink soda water to combat the nausea.

The motion sickness problem – thankfully – passed, but I still cannot drink soda water.

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Now, the clever people at Jaguar Land Rover are developing technology so vehicles will be able to tell if you are feeling unwell and adjust settings to combat motion sickness.

Motion sickness affects more than 70% of people. Spencer Salter, wellness technology researcher at Jaguar Land Rover, points out previously “little has been known about the causes and how to mitigate them”.

Through its motion sickness research, Jaguar Land Rover has created an algorithm that generates a ‘wellness score’ for each passenger. This can be used to automatically personalise a vehicle’s driving and cabin settings to reduce the effects of feeling car sick by up to 60%.

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Jaguar Land Rover has already collected more than 24 000 km of motion sickness data and tested the effects caused by performing a task while in transit, such as checking emails.

This has enabled the creation of a baseline driving style for self-driving vehicles to work towards, minimising the need for steering corrections and therefore the risk of motion sickness while passengers work or relax.

Salter explains: “As we move towards an autonomous future where occupants will have more time to either work, read or relax on longer journeys, it is important we develop vehicles that can adapt to reduce the effects of motion sickness in a way that is tailored to each passenger.”

Motion sickness is often caused when the eyes observe information that is different from what is sensed by the inner ear, skin or body forces – commonly when reading.

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The ‘wellness score’ calculates how susceptible individual drivers and passengers are to feeling car sick, using biometric sensors that record physiological signals. Combining this with motion and dynamics data, the vehicle will reliably know when a passenger or driver is becoming motion sick – before they do.

Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Medical Officer, explains: “This research has created a solution that, with its solid scientific foundation, can make travelling enjoyable, regardless of your susceptibility to motion sickness. 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.”

Jaguar or Land Rover vehicles today are already designed to help combat feelings of nausea. The Jaguar E-PACE, for example, has 26 different seat configurations for passengers to find a position that raises the infotainment screen relative to eye level as well as turn on the cooling seat function.

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Both factors have been proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of motion sickness. The E-PACE’s Adaptive Dynamics also remove low frequency motion from the road, which can lead to nausea, by altering the ride settings every 10-milliseconds to ensure passengers always experience high levels of comfort.

The first phase of the research completes this month. The findings are already being implemented into further projects across research ensuring Jaguar Land Rover can create the ultimate personalised cabin experience for its customers in future vehicles.

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