Ford on Front Lines of Fight Against Car Sickness

Stop-start traffic and winding roads can worsen a condition that is most prevalent in passengers, especially children and teenagers, and can be aggravated by sitting in the back, head down playing video games or watching movies.

Crossed signals between eyes, ears can make riding in car sickening experience.

COLOGNE, Germany - Ford has hurled down the gauntlet and is taking on car sickness.

Researchers with Ford of Europe, assisted by motion-sickness experts, are studying ways to head off the queasiness - or worse - that can despoil a drive and afflicts more than two-thirds of people at some point. 

Stop-start traffic and winding roads can worsen a condition that is most prevalent in passengers, especially children and teenagers, and can be aggravated by sitting in the back, head down playing video games or watching movies.

But the researchers say adult passengers who stared at screens throughout a short journey fell ill after an average of just 10 minutes.

"Comfort is a huge focus for the way we design the cars of the future - and we want to do everything we can to reduce car sickness," Eike Schmidt, research engineer at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany, says in a news release.

Yawning and perspiring are warning signs of a condition caused by mismatches between signals the brain receives from the eyes and from the organs of balance, in the ear. Only people old enough to walk get motion sickness, as do pets.

Initial tests showed when screens were mounted higher, and the road ahead could be seen on either side, volunteers were less likely to feel sick. Further experiments will explore alternative ways journeys can be displayed in the cabin so unseeing passengers can be warned of events such as twisting roads or humpbacked bridges.

"Car sickness is a complex problem. It is a natural reaction to an unnatural stimulus that cannot be cured as such. But we can look to alleviate the symptoms," says Jelte Bos of TNO, Perceptual and Cognitive Systems in Soesterberg, Netherlands.

"For many drivers who think their child has a problem with car sickness, it might simply be that their child has a problem with their driving. Adopting a smoother driving style goes a long way towards reducing feelings of nausea - and it reduces fuel costs too."

Tips for avoiding car sickness include running the air conditioning; using a pillow or other head support; moving to the middle of the back seats, or the front passenger seat, to see the road ahead; avoiding sudden braking, harsh acceleration and potholes where possible; and drinking cola but not coffee.


by: wardsauto.com