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JLR software to stop autonomous cars causing travel sickness

British car maker Jaguar Land Rover has developed new software to train autonomous cars to drive better to prevent passengers from suffering from motion sickness during journeys.

The nation’s biggest vehicle producer has created a rating system for driverless technology – called a ‘wellness score’ – that designers claim can reduce the impact of travel sickness by up to 60 per cent.

If successful, it means the brand’s autonomous technology won’t steer, accelerate or brake erratically – resulting in the inside of vehicles remaining vomit-free. 

JLR bosses said the development of the software will allow the brand to continue to provide customers with ‘the most refined and comfortable ride possible’.

The tech has been created at the British firm’s specialist software engineering hub in Shannon, Ireland.

It has been developed by collating 20,000 real-world and virtually-simulated test miles to calculate a set of parameters for driving dynamics to be rated against. 

With the use of advanced machine learning, driverless car software can use this data to optimise how vehicles move in a way that doesn’t unsettle passengers.

Motion sickness, which affects more than 70 per cent of people, according to research, is often caused when the eyes observe information different from that sensed by the inner ear, skin or body. 

This is why it is commonly triggered by reading on journeys in a vehicle. 

Using the new system, acceleration, braking and lane positioning – all contributory factors to motion sickness – can be optimised to avoid inducing nausea in passengers.

And the software developed by JLR is going to be fed into its range of cars well ahead of fully autonomous vehicles hitting our roads. 

Engineers can use the software to develop more refined advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) features on future Jaguar and Land Rover models, such as adaptive cruise control and lane monitoring systems.

In the long term, the British car maker says the technology will partly help it to achieve its Destination Zero target for the future – the aim to have zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.

Dr Steve Iley, JLR’s chief medical officer, said: ‘Mobility is rapidly changing, and we will need to harness the power of self-driving vehicles to achieve our goal of zero accidents and zero congestion. 

‘Solving the problem of motion sickness in driverless cars is the key to unlocking the huge potential of this technology for passengers, who will be able to use the travelling time for reading, working or relaxing.’  

The software can be tweaked to match the individual characteristics of different models in the vehicle maker’s range.

For instance, a powerful Jaguar saloon can be adjusted to feel sportier, while Land Rover models can be fine tuned to feel smooth and refined.  

The technology not only adjust how an autonomous vehicle drives but how it can adjust the cabin settings to also reduce the impact of travel sickness – including adjusting the temperature settings and – if the model has it – massage function. 

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