Driver­less cars ‘cause nau­sea’

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

DETROIT - Au­ton­o­mous cars will un­doubt­edly change the way peo­ple live, but they could also make for a queasy fu­ture, a study by the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan has found.

The U-M Trans­porta­tion Re­search In­sti­tute ran a sur­vey of more than 3200 peo­ple – across the US, In­dia, China, Ja­pan, Great Bri­tain and Australia – which aimed to see what peo­ple would do while they were in an au­ton­o­mous car.

Re­searchers Michael Si­vak and Bran­don Schoet­tle found that many re­spon­dents would read, watch movies or tele­vi­sion, play games, work or use their phones to text peo­ple – and th­ese ac­tions would “in­crease the like­li­hood and sever­ity of mo­tion sick­ness”.

Si­vak and Schoet­tle found more than one third of US re­spon­dents, more than half of the In­dian con­tin­gent, 40 per­cent of Chi­nese re­spon­dents and be­tween 26 and 30 per­cent of those asked in Ja­pan, Great Bri­tain and Australia were likely to per­form th­ese ac­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers, this would see be­tween six and 12 per cent of peo­ple to “ex­pe­ri­ence mod­er­ate or se­vere mo­tion sick­ness at some time”.

“Mo­tion sick­ness is ex­pected to be more of an is­sue in self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles than in con­ven­tional ve­hi­cles,” Si­vak said. “The rea­son is that the three main fac­tors con­tribut­ing to mo­tion sick­ness — con­flict be­tween vestibu­lar (bal­ance) and vis­ual in­puts, in­abil­ity to an­tic­i­pate the di­rec­tion of mo­tion and lack of con­trol over the di­rec­tion of mo­tion — are el­e­vated in self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles.

“How­ever, the fre­quency and sever­ity of mo­tion sick­ness is in­flu­enced by the ac­tiv­ity that one would be in­volved in in­stead of driv­ing,” Si­vak said.

The find­ings sug­gested 60 per­cent of Amer­i­can au­ton­o­mous car pas­sen­gers would “watch the road, talk on the phone or sleep”, which “would not nec­es­sar­ily lead to mo­tion sick­ness”.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers, about the same per­cent­age of Chi­nese re­spon­dents would sleep, watch the road or talk on the phone, while a higher pro­por­tion would do so in Ja­pan, Great Bri­tain and Australia. The tech-ob­sessed na­tion of In­dia would be least likely to sleep, call or watch the road, the re­port found.

The find­ings were backed by some rec­om­men­da­tions for car mak­ers, in­clud­ing “max­imis­ing the vis­ual field with large, trans­par­ent win­dows; mount trans­par­ent video and work dis­plays that re­quire pas­sen­gers to face for­ward; and elim­i­nate swivel seats, re­strict head mo­tion and in­stall fully re­clin­ing seats”.

It fol­lows a re­cent study by ebay Mo­tors that found 84 per cent of Amer­i­cans will to con­tinue drive their own cars and not rely on au­ton­o­mous tech­nol­ogy.

Al­most four in 10 peo­ple think self-driv­ing cars might save them money and three quar­ters of re­spon­dents think it is im­por­tant that the tech­nol­ogy could re­duce the amount of green­house gases belched out by ve­hi­cles.

Ap­prox­i­mately 56 per­cent of Amer­i­cans think self-driv­ing cars will re­sult in fewer ac­ci­dents, while 15 per cent pre­dict they will cause more crashes.

Be­ing able to do other tasks while trav­el­ling in a car, not hav­ing to park and lower in­sur­ance rates are popular rea­sons to buy one, but the largest worry is li­a­bil­ity in the event of a crash.

Whichever au­tomaker be­comes the first to mar­ket a fully au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle might take heed to place one im­por­tant item on the stan­dard equip­ment list –– a barf bag. – Daily Mail

A num­ber of car­mak­ers are work­ing on au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing mercedes-benz, Audi, Volvo and in­ter­net com­pany Google.

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