Volkswagen Is Making People Sick

Tue 28th May 2019

German car manufacturer Volkswagen is taking the unusual step of forcing passengers to get car sick in the name of research.

VW’s scientists in Wolfsburg are studying motion sickness in autonomous cars in the hope that they can reduce the problem when driverless cars become a reality. The tests at the company’s Ehra-Lessien track sees volunteers placed in an Audi A4, which is then driven behind a Volkswagen Passat. The Passat is then driven in a stop-and-go pattern, whilst the volunteer watches a video on a tablet, a set of actions which are likely to induce sickness in many.

According to VW, one third of people are susceptible to motion sickness, with passengers more likely to be car sick as they can’t anticipate the movements of the vehicle. With driverless car technology effectively making us all passengers, motion sickness is more likely.

A Volkswagen press release on the research said: “The Volkswagen Group researchers are exploring whether changes to the vehicles themselves might help prevent motion sickness. Such ideas include special movable seats that can react to driving changes and an LED light strip on the door panel that illuminates in green and red – providing a visual cue for the passenger of braking or acceleration.

“Studies have shown that these inventions have already had some initial success. But the team still has some way to go, and further studies are in the pipeline. Their plans include examining not only the longitudinal forces that passengers feel when braking and accelerating, but also the transverse forces when taking corners.”