Approximately, two thirds of the population have experienced car sickness in their lives. It is expected that the amount will increase with the ongoing introduction of automated driving. The Hi-Drive project partner Würzburger Institut für Verkehrswissenschaften GmbH (WIVW) created this study aimed at investigating (A) the activities people naturally engage in while being driven automatically, and (B) the influence this behavior has on the occurrence of carsickness.
The VIVW team first conducted an online survey investigating the engagement in activities of car passengers as well as the susceptibility to carsickness. From a total of 631 online participants, 341 declared they were interested in participating in an open-road study. Based on age, gender, theoretical susceptibility and typical activities during car journeys, 44 participants (22 women, 22 men) between the ages of 18 and 67 were selected for the driving study.
The study itself consisted of a 40-minute automated ride on urban roads in Wolfsburg. Most carsickness studies on public roads are conducted with manually driven vehicles, while studies using (partly) automated vehicles are performed solely on test tracks. This was the first naturalistic open road study examining carsickness conducted in a Level-3-ready autonomous vehicle. The research vehicle provided by Volkswagen drove two rounds of a pre-defined route in Wolfsburg while participants sat in the front passenger seat accompanied by the safety driver in the driver seat.
Participants were instructed to behave as if they were sitting alone in the vehicle and engage in activities, they would normally engage in during longer city rides. The chosen activities were recorded continuously and motion sickness was queried every minute using the MISC scale. After the ride, the participants were requested to fill out a questionnaire on the occurrence of car sickness and non-driving related tasks [NDRTs] engagement during the ride. In addition they were asked to evaluate the perceived safety and rate their level of acceptance for the automated driving system they had experienced. In 9 instances the ‘stop criterion’ were reached and the rides had to be stopped because of car sickness.
A NDR television crew accompanied the WIVW team and the study during one day. The video clip aired Friday 07.07.2023 and can be seen here: