3/25/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Ricardo Software Aims to Curb Motion Sickness

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U.K. engineering specialist Ricardo plc is developing software to help reduce the potential for motion sickness in next-generation cars.

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U.K. engineering specialist Ricardo plc is developing software to help reduce the potential for motion sickness in next-generation cars by altering a vehicle’s driving dynamics and interior settings.

The technology would be especially useful in autonomous vehicles with reconfigured interiors that focus on comfort and non-driving activities, Ricardo says. Occupants in these vehicles are more likely to be reading, conversing with others or watching movies rather than looking at the road ahead.


Kinetosis (motion sickness) often stems from sensual dissonance, such as when a person’s eyes observe information that is different from what is sensed by the inner ear, skin or body movements. There often can be a disconnect between how motion is experienced through a person’s eyes and inner ear.
 

The effect can be compounded by flickering light and images in a person’s peripheral vision. Children and teenagers tend to be the most prone to the effect because the development of the their central nervous system lags their physical growth.

Based on its research related to the cause and effect of kinetosis, Ricardo says software algorithms could be used to optimize suspension and other chassis settings to create a smoother ride. In autonomous vehicles, real-time changes based on driving conditions also could be made to adjust interior temperatures, lighting and even generate specific scents to help counter sensual dissonance.

Ricardo has conducted initial tests with adults and plans to expand the research to pilot programs with school children later this year. The company is partnering with several U.K. universities on the program.