About 1 in 3 are highly susceptible to motion sickness
Motion sickness is a complex phenomenon but is in self driving cars (or in cars in which you are a passenger) believed to be caused primarily by:
- Visual-vestibular conflict (what you see is not what you feel)
- The inability to control the car’s motions
- The inability to anticipate upcoming motions
In self driving cars, users are going to perform various activities that require them to look away from the road (reading, watching movies, browsing social media etc) (visual-vestibular conflict).
Intention sounds can reduce motion sickness in AD
As you already know, intention sounds show the car’s intended, upcoming manoeuvres. We sonified manoeuvres such us acceleration, deceleration, turning right and left. Sounds were designed specifically for each manoeuvre presented below and played by a trained wizard (wizard of oz method) to imitate real-time generation. Sounds were played approx. 1 sec before each manoeuvre.
Based on a motion sickness scale and other metrics we concluded that those sounds helped to reduce motions sickness. Our participants mentioned that sounds helped to:
a) sound made them adjust their bodies
‘Direction sound made me hold myself upright’, ‘I could feel in the chest that I prepared for the manoeuvre (acc/dec)’, ‘You kind of balance and prepare my muscles in my torso rather than been thrown around’
b) sound helped to feel overall less dizzy and more comfortable
‘Dizziness without the sounds made the task more difficult.’, ‘I felt more comfortable having them when I was reading.’, ‘Without the sounds, I could feel the turns gave me a stomach sensation.’
c) sound was overall useful and helpful considering motions sickness
‘If you’re reading and not look at the road, they are useful in that sense that you prepare for what’s coming’, ‘I think in a way it’s useful for motion sickness, I had anxiety problems before so knowing what’s coming is important for me’, ‘first lap – getting used to; second lap – I knew what was going to happen and it was helpful. I didn’t really have to concentrate on the road. It helped me avoid motion sickness.’