Automotive companies aren’t just researching how to make their powertrains as powerful and efficient as possible. German car parts maker, ZF, is also working on technology that’ll make you less likely to throw up.
For those poor souls who suffer from motion sickness, vehicle travel can be a nightmare. It afflicts passengers the most, particularly those concentrating on a book or device when the inner ear senses motion and the eyes don’t. The body, in turn, responds in a manner similar to having been poisoned.
Typically, you can just ask your passengers, “hey, are you feeling carsick?” That’s if they don’t tell you first or, worse, show you.
Of course, some people – like infants – aren’t able to respond. ZF is therefore working with neuro-technologists in Germany to develop technology that could detect passengers’ motion sickness early.
Such technology would also have applications in autonomous vehicle development, where you could theoretically store the preferred driving style of each passenger.
Test candidate studies have been conducted jointly by researchers from Saarland University and the University of Applied Sciences in Saarbrücken, the team gathering more than 50,000 gigabytes of data over more than 10,000km of driving.
Researchers equipped test subjects with sensors, put them in a vehicle full of sensors, and then examined participants’ reactions in a variety of driving situations.
They then analysed the physiological markers that correlate most highly with motion sickness and how they correlated to the driving dynamics of the vehicle.
ZF’s research into motion sickness isn’t the first in the industry, though. Jaguar Land Rover, for example, equipped engineer Spencer Salter with monitors and sensors and sent him on rollercoasters and teacup rides to identify the physical signals that come with queasiness. Volkswagen has also been doing research into reducing motion sickness in autonomous vehicle occupants.
There are plenty of researchers investigating how to mitigate motion sickness. In the meantime, if someone in your car is looking a bit pale, perhaps just take corners a bit slower.
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