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Spinning Wheels and Heads

DFG funds research project at Technische Universität Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin on motion sickness in automated driving

News from May 22, 2019

Whether it is working on the computer or playing a card game with the kids – automated driving creates plenty of opportunities for activities while traveling by car. However, these cause discomfort and nausea in some people, and a typical motion sickness occurs. Researchers from Technische Universität Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin are now investigating how motion sickness, or kinetosis, and automated driving are related and how to alleviate discomfort.

The scientists are now investigating how kinetosis comes about and how it can be avoided, for example, by installing technical measures such as an active chassis or active seats. The car should recognize at an early stage when a person develops symptoms of kinetosis and initiate appropriate countermeasures. It could then recommend a change in the driving style or the suspension characteristics or propose a break.

The research project is being funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with roughly 700,000 euros for three years and is expected to increase acceptance of the new technology. The joint project of Technische Universität Berlin and Charité pursues an interdisciplinary approach. It is headed by Professor Steffen Müller, head of the Department of Automotive Engineering of Technische Universität Berlin. Dr. Uwe Schönfeld from the Department of Otolaryngology at the Charité Benjamin Franklin campus heads the Charité subproject. With this project the partner institutions are further expanding their collaboration in research. The researchers hope that their scientific findings will be used by automotive companies to implement these functions and systems in their products in order to prevent travel sickness.