Self-driving carsickness

Cyriel Diels, J.E. Bos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Citations (Scopus)
223 Downloads (Pure)


This paper discusses the predicted increase in the occurrence and severity of motion sickness in self-driving cars. Self-driving cars have the potential to lead to significant benefits. From the driver's perspective, the direct benefits of this technology are considered increased comfort and productivity. However, we here show that the envisaged scenarios all lead to an increased risk of motion sickness. As such, the benefits this technology is assumed to bring may not be capitalised on, in particular by those already susceptible to motion sickness. This can negatively affect user acceptance and uptake and, in turn, limit the potential socioeconomic benefits that this emerging technology may provide. Following a discussion on the causes of motion sickness in the context of self-driving cars, we present guidelines to steer the design and development of automated vehicle technologies. The aim is to limit or avoid the impact of motion sickness and ultimately promote the uptake of self-driving cars. Attention is also given to less well known consequences of motion sickness, in particular negative aftereffects such as postural instability, and detrimental effects on task performance and how this may impact the use and design of self-driving cars. We conclude that basic perceptual mechanisms need to be considered in the design process whereby self-driving cars cannot simply be thought of as living rooms, offices, or entertainment venues on wheels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374–382
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue numberB
Early online date9 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

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, [VOL 53, ISSUE B, (2015)] DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2015.09.009

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Vehicle automation
  • Design
  • Displays
  • Motion sickness
  • Carsickness
  • Sensory conflict
  • Anticipation


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