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Avoiding Carsickness When the Cars Drive Themselves

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Sensors are mounted on the head of a participant in the University of Michigan research.

Researchers at the University of Michigan are seeking remedies for the carsickness that can arise from being a passenger in a self-driving vehicle.

Credit: Ryan Debolski/The New York Times

This article is part of our continuing Fast Forward series, which examines technological, economic, social and cultural shifts that happen as businesses evolve.

The day is approaching when commuters stuck in soul-crushing traffic will be freed from the drudgery of driving. Companies are investing billions to devise sensors and algorithms so motorists can turn our attention to where we like it these days: our phones.

But before the great promise of multitasking on the road can be realized, we need to overcome an age-old problem: motion sickness. "The autonomous-vehicle community understands this is a real problem it has to deal with," said Monica Jones, a transportation researcher at the University of Michigan. "That motivates me to be very systematic."

So starting in 2017, Ms. Jones led a series of studies in which more than 150 people were strapped into the front seat of a 2007 Honda Accord. They were wired with sensors and set on a ride that included roughly 50 left-hand turns and other maneuvers.


From The New York Times
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