Driverless cars ‘cause nausea’
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.