Self-driving cars are raising hopes that we'll get a lot done when we don't have to drive anymore. According to a University of Michigan study, that's about as likely as a parent finishing two memos and a big presentation while taking a teen-age learner out to drive. The average U.S. driver spends an hour a day in their car, but the study concluded that for 62 percent of Americans, freeing up that driving time won't make them any more productive. And the findings suggest riding in a self-driving car may be a white-knuckle nightmare of nerves, car sickness, unsafe seats and flying gadgets. Maybe ordinary people have sensed this already.
Never mind festooning a self-driving car in lights and other devices to fend off motion sickness -- you might just have to slip on some eyewear. University of Michigan researchers have patented a system that could use glasses or a headset to prevent a disconnect between your sense of motion and what you see. The approach would use a set of sequentially activated light pipes that would imitate the movement of the autonomous vehicle in your peripheral view, giving your body a frame of reference while freeing you to check your phone without getting sick.
Motion sickness is a real problem in self-driving cars. As you're not in control of where the car is going, you might feel queasy when the vehicle moves in ways you weren't anticipating. Uber clearly needs to minimize that urge to hurl if it's going to create an autonomous fleet -- and accordingly, it's exploring technology that could make you feel at ease.
Choose "I don't think so." or "Yes, I think so.". In many ways, we are on the brink of this new mobility tech becoming mainstream. Just this month, Waymo was granted the go-ahead to test fully driverless cars in California. In the US, twenty-nine states have already enacted legislation related to autonomous vehicles. In places like Arizona, the cars are already on roads.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has published an Apple patent application that details a pretty neat VR system. Spotted by Patently Apple, it's meant to be used in vehicles -- including self-driving vehicles -- and Apple pitches it as a way to mitigate motion sickness. But the company also describes a lot of other interesting applications, many of which could be used to turn a standard ride in an autonomous car into a business meeting, a concert or an exciting, zombie-filled adventure. The application says that the system could include a VR headset or a projector that would display the images on interior walls of the vehicle. In regards to motion sickness, the system could include a variety of sensors that could monitor the passenger and determine when they might start feeling ill.