New patented system could prevent motion sickness while riding in self-driving cars

January 18, 2018 by Greta Guest, University of Michigan

One of the selling points of autonomous vehicles is the chance for drivers to be more productive while traveling. But some, suffering from motion sickness, won't be able to take advantage of relinquishing the wheel.

The main cause of motion sickness is a conflict between vestibular and visual inputs when not watching the road while in a moving .

University of Michigan researchers have received a patent on a universal motion sickness countermeasure system they developed to provide in the visual periphery of the passenger to mimic what the rider might see outside. This system eliminates the conflict between vestibular and visual inputs. The patent covers both wearable and vehicle-based embodiments of the system.

Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute are working with U-M Tech Transfer to commercialize their invention.

Sivak said that about half of adults get motion sick at times when reading a book in a moving vehicle.

"This is more important with the introduction of ," said Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI. "In , everyone will be a passenger. So you will have a larger potential pool of sick people. The protection that drivers have received from driving won't be there anymore."

And Schoettle, a project manager at UMTRI, said that when people make the shift to autonomous vehicles, they'll have high hopes for what they'll be doing in the vehicle—maybe they want to get some work done on a laptop, watch a video or read a book.

"The productivity gains that the proponents of self driving vehicles are talking about may not happen if we don't address the motion sickness problem," Sivak said.

Keith Hughes, assistant director of Transportation and Battery Commercialization at U-M Tech Transfer, said now that the patent has been issued they will contact various suppliers and automakers to commercialize the U-M technology.

"As we move toward autonomous vehicles, the interiors could also have an unusual configuration—it could be couches in a vehicle or you might be sitting backwards or sideways," he said. "Providing a solution to will be necessary."

Explore further: Motion sickness in autonomous cars: Don't read and ride

More information: Patent: … 2&IDKey=0A36011EF4C5

Related Stories

Majority prefer driverless technology

July 22, 2015

While only a small percentage of drivers say they would be completely comfortable in a driverless car, a sizable amount would have no problem as long as they retain some control, according to a University of Michigan report.

Recommended for you

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

March 19, 2018

A self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in a Phoenix suburb in the first fatality involving a fully autonomous test vehicle, prompting the ride-hailing company Monday to suspend all road-testing of such ...

1 in 3 Michigan workers tested opened fake 'phishing' email

March 16, 2018

Michigan auditors who conducted a fake "phishing" attack on 5,000 randomly selected state employees said Friday that nearly one-third opened the email, a quarter clicked on the link and almost one-fifth entered their user ...

Origami-inspired self-locking foldable robotic arm

March 15, 2018

A research team of Seoul National University led by Professor Kyu-Jin Cho has developed an origami-inspired robotic arm that is foldable, self-assembling and also highly-rigid. (The researchers include Suk-Jun Kim, Dae-Young ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 18, 2018
Augmented reality will eventually take over the insides of self driving vehicles. I would love to have a van with treadmill to allow me to jog my way into work through varying scenes and vistas. Merging the expected visual queues to prevent motion sickness will be a nice bonus.
not rated yet Jan 22, 2018
Perhaps it will help with some specific cases but for those of us who get motion sickness by just being a passenger, not just by reading, it wouldn't seem like it would do anything as there isn't anything about what you see that is different. Same with sea sickness; it doesn't have to do with what you see vs sense of motion.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.