Motion sickness in automated vehicles with forward and rearward facing seating orientations

Spencer Salter, Cyriel Diels, Paul Herriotts, Stratis Kanarachos, Doug Thake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)
563 Downloads (Pure)


Automated vehicles (AV’s) offer greater flexibility in cabin design particularly in a future where no physical driving controls are required. One common concept for an automated vehicle is to have both forward and rearward facing seats. However, traveling backwards could lead to an increased likelihood of experiencing motion sickness due to the inability of occupants to anticipate the future motion trajectory. This study aimed to empirically evaluate the impact of seating orientation on the levels of motion sickness within an AV cabin. To this end, a vehicle was modified to replicate the common concept of automated vehicles with forward and rearward facing seats. Two routes were chosen to simulate motorway and urban driving. The participants were instructed to carry out typical office tasks whilst being driven in the vehicle which consisted of conducting a meeting, operating a personal device and taking notes. The participants conducted the test twice to experience both forward and rearward seating orientations in a randomised crossover design. Levels of sickness reported was relatively low with a significant increase in the mean level of sickness recorded when traveling rearwards. As expected, this increase was particularly pronounced under urban driving conditions. It is concluded that rearward travel in automated vehicles will compromise the passenger experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Early online date19 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Applied Ergonomics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Applied Ergonomics, [78], (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2019.02.001

© 2019, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


JLR sponsored PhD


  • Automated vehicle
  • Motion sickness
  • Seating orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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