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Here's how Uber plans to reduce motion sickness in its driverless cars

Uber hopes to trick your body into experiencing vehicular movement so that motion sickness is avoided.

  • Updated: November 21, 2017 11:33 PM IST
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Uber is known for its growing interest self-driving cars. The cab aggregator has been working on self-driving technology for quite some time now, with some cars being tested on commercial roads as well. Now through a new patent published this year, Uber could be working on a technology to eliminate motion sickness, or reduce it to the minimum. Motion sickness can happen during long journeys or even on a normal ride in town. Uber’s patent is titled “Sensory stimulation system for an autonomous vehicle”.

While the title may not make sense, the background of the patent reveals how with autonomous vehicles riders will focus on other activities. These may include work, socializing, reading, and writing among others. During the course of these activities, the rider is prone to motion sickness, which leads to nausea, and thereby vomiting. Through this sensory stimulation system, Uber aims to make your body adapt to the movement of the running vehicle.

Motion sickness is caused when your ear, eyes, and sensory nerves are aware that your body is moving but remainder of your body isn’t. Although these sensory nerves can see and hear the movement of the vehicle, your body remains stagnant unable to respond to the movement. Using sensory stimulation system, Uber will try to trick your body into believing the movement sensed only by your eyes and ears. This way your entire body will be functioning according to the movement of the vehicle.

There will be certain mechanisms used to create this illusion out of which one is the usage of vibrating seats. The seats in Uber’s autonomous vehicles can come with “haptic functionality”, which will cause vibration thereby causing movement to the body as well. Uber also plans to use different kind of airflows within the vehicle which will specifically affect certain parts of the body to trigger the illusion. There will also be an artificial environment created using lights in the vehicle, which is also expected to help the body react to vehicular motion.

  • Published Date: November 21, 2017 11:26 PM IST
  • Updated Date: November 21, 2017 11:33 PM IST