Car makers dreaming of a self-driving car future forgot one thing: Car sickness.
I had my fair share of vomiting all over the back seat in my parents car when I was a kid. As an adult I don't suffer from severe motion sickness anymore. Main reason for that is that I am the one driving. When I don't drive and try reading a book, I start getting sick and stop reading and look out the window.
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To work or read instead of driving a self-driving car is what car makers are promising is not going to work for me. Now a new research report says that 6%-10% of American adults riding in fully self-driving vehicles would be expected to often, usually, or always experience some level of motion sickness. Analogously, 6%-12% of American adults riding in fully self-driving vehicles would be expected to experience moderate or severe motion sickness at some time.
Three main factors are contributing to motion sickness (conflict between vestibular 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. The frequency and severity of motion sickness is influenced by the activity that one would be involved in instead of driving.
The research of Michael Sivak Brandon Schoettle from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute is based on survey data. The researchers asked 3,255 participants about what they would do in a self-driving car. Interestingly, the survey revealed that 23% of Americans would not ride a self-driving car to begin with.
35% of participants would still watch the road while the car does the driving. About 10% would read and about another 10% would text. About 7% would have the guts to take a nap
When removing the participants that said not to be riding a self-driving car the amount of people watching the road is almost 50%. So what is the point of a self-driving car?
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The study not only reveals the increased likelihood of motion sickness, but also raises the big question about the necessity of a self-driving car.