While many automakers are working on making human-controlled driving a thing of the past through autonomous driving, that doesn’t solve much of an issue for the many people who can get carsick at the turn of a corner. Research underway with Jaguar Land Rover’s software engineering facility may one day help those people enjoy the ride a bit more.
This project began in 2018, when software engineers devised a program to develop a “wellness score” for everyone in the vehicle, using biometric sensors to adjust the temperature and seating position of nausea-prone passengers. It can also turn on the cooled seats, which is shown to help people suffering from carsickness.
The newest phase of the project has further applied the results of that learning to autonomous cars, which will have to figure out how to drive in a way that reduces motion sickness. The vehicles will have to learn how to smoothly corner, accelerate, and change lanes. This second phase implements the learning from the 2018 project to systems like adaptive cruise control and lane monitoring systems, adding another layer of decision-making into the computer system as to when to not just make a safe, but a comfortable, change in the vehicle's path. The computers are capable of making adjustments every 10 milliseconds to reconcile the comfort of passengers with the drive settings.
This is just part of JLR's Destination Zero, which focuses on a future of Zero Emissions, Zero Accidents, and Zero Congestion, with cars contributing to a healthier future. This project matters even more in the COVID-19 era, as people are more focused on being healthier, safer, and more comfortable. Motion sickness impacts 70% of the world's population to some degree, and anything that can help cut it down could have a massive impact on the well-being of many people.
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