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Self-Driving Car Tech Aims To Stop You From Puking

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Google/Waymo Self-Driving Car
Photo: Digital Trends

Self-driving cars have loomed large in the news as of late, particularly as California has given the go-ahead to automakers to test fully driverless cars on public roads and GM has continued its rapid expansion of self-driving car testing across the country.

Meanwhile, though, Google’s former self-driving car division, Waymo, has been looking into the problem of self-driving car vomit.

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Specifically, this came from a patent application from the company outlining a method for the vehicle to analyze given routes based on vehicle acceleration and back-and-forth swaying to reach a destination, and then offering a more relaxed ride for motion-sickness-prone passengers, or a rougher ride for those in a hurry.

The motion-sickness avoidance maneuvers outlined in the application also includes push notifications telling passengers to avoid reading or looking down during the ride or to sit in particular seats to mitigate possible nausea, or even changing driving style if the rider reports uneasiness, for example leaving larger gaps or switching to less-congested roads.

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Of course, this isn’t the first time motion sickness in self-driving cars has been addressed – a study in 2015 from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that self-driving cars would likely lead to more motion sickness, mainly due to what passengers would be doing instead of driving (the Institute recommended eliminating swiveling seats to mitigate this effect), and Uber also applied for a patent last November for a system that would warn passengers of upcoming turns and stops using visual and audio signals and vibrating seats in its growing self-driving car fleet.

News Source: CNN