Up to one-third of Americans experience motion sickness, according to the National Institutes of Health. In a car, the condition tends to flare when you’re a passenger rather than a driver, and when you’re engaged in something other than looking out the window—reading or using a handheld device, for example. This sizable segment of society stands to miss out on some of the key benefits of self-driving technology.
“One of the great promises of autonomous vehicles—to give us back time by freeing us from driving—is at risk if we can’t solve the motion sickness problem,” said Monica Jones, an assistant research scientist in the Biosciences Group at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). “If it’s not mitigated in some way, motion sickness may affect people’s willingness to adopt driverless cars.”