Motion sickness in passenger vehicles during test track operations

Ergonomics. 2019 Oct;62(10):1357-1371. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2019.1632938. Epub 2019 Jul 21.


As automation transforms drivers into passengers, the deployment of automated vehicles (AVs) has the potential to greatly increase the incidence of motion sickness. A study was conducted to quantify motion sickness response of front-seat passengers performing ecologically relevant passenger activities during conditions consistent with driving on public roadways. Fifty-two adults with a large range of self-reported levels of motion sickness susceptibility and age participated in data collection on a closed test track in a passenger sedan. Motion sickness ratings increased with task vs. no-task and moderate vs. low acceleration test conditions. Increased motion sickness susceptibility was associated with higher motion sickness ratings. In comparison to older participants (age > 60), younger participants (age < 60) experienced increased motion sickness. This is the first in-vehicle study that systematically compared normative passenger activities and acceleration magnitudes typical of normative driving conditions on motion sickness response for a large, diverse sample of passengers, enabling the exploration of the effects of covariates. Practitioner summary: The data demonstrate that a relatively large range of motion sickness response can be expected to result from passengers performing visual tasks in passenger vehicles. Measurement and modelling efforts should seek to elucidate relationships among the factors contributing to motion sickness for the purpose of informing and prioritising future countermeasures for automated vehicles (AVs). Abbreviations: AV(S): automated vehicles; BMI: body mass index; BVP: blood volume pulse; EDA: electrodermal activity; FMS: fast motion sickness scale; GPS: global positioning system; IMU: inertial measurement unit; ISO: International Organization for Standardization; MISC: misery scale; MSDV: motion sickness dose value; NDS: naturalistic driving study; SAE: Society of Automotive Engineers International; UMTRI: The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Key Aspect of Research: Motion sickness may be an important barrier to widespread adoption of automated vehicles @UMTRI.

Keywords: Motion sickness; automated vehicles; passenger activities; vehicle acceleration.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automation*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motion Sickness / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult