Motion sickness affects over 70% of people. Spencer Salter, wellness technology researcher at Jaguar Land Rover, points out that previously "little has been known about the causes and how to mitigate them".
Now, through its motion sickness research, Jaguar Land Rover has created an algorithm that generates a 'wellness score' for each passenger. This can be used to automatically personalise a vehicle's driving and cabin settings to reduce the effects of feeling car sick by up to 60%.
Jaguar Land Rover has already collected 15,000 miles of motion sickness data and tested the effects caused by performing a task while in transit, such as checking emails. This has enabled the creation of a baseline driving style for self-driving vehicles to work towards, minimising the need for steering corrections and therefore the risk of motion sickness while passengers work or relax.
Salter explains: "As we move towards an autonomous future where occupants will have more time to either work, read or relax on longer journeys, it's important we develop vehicles that can adapt to reduce the effects of motion sickness in a way that's tailored to each passenger."
Motion sickness is often caused when the eyes observe information that is different from what is sensed by the inner ear, skin or body forces – commonly when reading.
The 'wellness score' calculates how susceptible individual drivers and passengers are to feeling car sick, using biometric sensors that record physiological signals. Combining this with motion and dynamics data, the vehicle will reliably know when a passenger or driver is becoming motion sick – before they do.
Dr. Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Medical Officer, explains: "This cutting-edge research has created a solution that, with its solid scientific foundation, can make travelling enjoyable, regardless of your susceptibility to motion sickness. As a parent of young children, who are most susceptible to car sickness, I am particularly excited by the benefits this research can have in making long journeys comfortable and stress-free for families."
Jaguar or Land Rover vehicles today are already designed to help combat feelings of nausea. The Jaguar E-Pace, for example, has 26 different seat configurations for passengers to find a position that raises the infotainment screen relative to eye level as well as turn on the cooling seat function. Both factors have been proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of motion sickness.
The E-Pace's Adaptive Dynamics also remove low frequency motion from the road, which can lead to nausea, by altering the ride settings every 10-milliseconds to ensure passengers always experience high levels of comfort.
The first phase of the research completes this month. The findings are already being implemented into further projects across research ensuring Jaguar Land Rover can create the ultimate personalised cabin experience for its customers in future vehicles.
The agreement provides Preh, based in Germany, with access to Immersion's patented haptic technology for use in its in-vehicle surfaces and panels.
Haptic-rich interfaces for automotive operations such as entertainment, navigation, and climate control help reduce driver distraction and enhance the driving experience. There is an automotive industry trend to reduce moving parts, physical buttons, and knobs despite being genuinely intuitive in their operation. Therefore, increasingly, Tier-1 suppliers like Preh are designing haptics into their touch applications, as tactile feedback on touch surfaces makes the driving experience more intuitive and realistic and can help reduce eyes-off-road time. This is especially important as vehicles incorporate advanced systems like touch panels, touch screens, and sensory-based technology.
"We welcome Preh as a new licensee and look forward to seeing how it incorporates haptics into its next-generation interfaces," said Tom Lacey, Immersion's interim CEO. "The automotive sector continues to be a tremendous growth engine for us as haptics-enabled user interfaces are expected to migrate from today's premium models to high-volume mainstream categories in the coming years."
"With Immersion and Preh, two highly specialsed partners have signed an agreement from which our OEM customers will strongly benefit in the field of touch feedback technology," said Christoph Hummel, CEO of Preh GmbH. "Through the partnership with Immersion, we are able to make our highly sophisticated HMI solutions even better and further enhance the driving experience."
The new device is suited to use in demanding automotive environments, as it delivers a wide operating temperature range, high RF transmission power and high RF reception sensitivity (a link budget of 113dB @125kbps at long range transmission). The mixed-signal TC35681IFTG contains both analog RF and baseband digital parts to provide a complete solution on a single chip.
In addition to the basic functions of Host Controller Interface (HCI) profile and GATT profile functions, TC35681IFTG adds the new functions defined by Bluetooth core specification 5.0, including 2Mbps throughput, Long Range and Advertising Extension functions, stored in internal mask ROM. It also integrates a high gain power amplifier and realises +8dBm for long distance communication.
When used in conjunction with an external non-volatile memory, the new IC becomes a fully-fledged application processor that temporarily loads applications and stores in internal RAM (76KB). It can also be combined with an external host processor.
The integration of 18 General Purpose IO (GPIO) lines and multiple communications options including SPI, I2C and a 921.6kbps, two-channel UART, gives TC35681IFTG the ability to form part of sophisticated systems. The GPIO lines offer access to a range of on-chip features including a wake-up interface, four-channel PWM interface and 5-channel AD converter. An on-chip DC-DC converter or LDO circuits adjust the external voltage supply to the required values on chip.
As it is designed to be compliant with AEC-Q100, the low energy IC is primarily intended to be used in automotive applications. The wettable flank package simplifies automatic visual inspection needed to deliver the high levels of soldering quality required to withstand the vibration experienced in automotive applications.
Current applications include Remote Keyless Entry, On-Board Diagnostics to collect sensor data, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems, and other contributors to improved vehicle comfort and safety.
For the all-new Ford Focus, the company is the first manufacturer to introduce technology that uses road signs and lane markings as the cue to adjust headlight beams that better illuminate the road ahead. This might be to widen the beam when approaching a roundabout so that drivers are able to see pedestrians and cyclists at the kerbside more easily.
Rather than depending on GPS mapping, which does not always reflect the latest road layout changes, the new system offers real-world warning of what lies ahead. By harnessing camera and lighting technologies, Ford's new Adaptive Front Lighting System tracks lane markings so that it can direct headlamps into curves before the driver has even turned the wheel.
"The dream is that night driving need be no more difficult than driving in the day. Our latest lighting technologies are part of our plan to make that a reality," said Michael Koherr, lighting research engineer, Ford of Europe. "Across Europe 15% of road layouts change every year. Amazingly useful as GPS is, using signs to read the road offers the most up-to-date information you can get."
The front facing camera on the Ford Focus already supports technologies that help drivers keep the vehicle centred in the lane, maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead and warn drivers against driving the wrong way onto a motorway. Mounted on the inside of the windscreen, below the rear-view mirror, it can monitor road signs and markings up to 65 metres ahead, enabling the system's dynamic bending function to come into play much sooner than if only reliant on steering inputs.
Further functions of the Adaptive Front Lighting System include preventing drivers from dazzling others on the road using the Glare-Free Highbeam function, lighting technology that removes the guilt of accidentally dazzling other drivers – and that helps you to see more of the road ahead. The technology avoids drivers having to dip their headlights by simply blocking those rays that would otherwise shine in the eyes of other road-users. Studies have shown that automated high-beam headlights are activated up to 10 times more than when drivers have to switch to high-beam themselves.
Among many other advanced lighting projects, Koherr and his team are now developing new spot lighting technology that uses an infra-red camera to locate and track people, cyclists and bigger animals up to 120 metres away.
However, A-pillars have also been identified as visual obstructions for the driver. Over the years, A-pillars have expanded to improve rollover safety and meet more rigorous federal roof-crush standards. This trend poses an increased hazard to pedestrians and vulnerable road users easily obscured from the driver's view.
"Increasing the safety of all road users, from drivers to pedestrians, is the motivating force behind innovative Continental technologies like the Virtual A-Pillar," said Dr. Karsten Michels, head of Systems & Technology in the Interior division at Continental. "By pairing and implementing advanced technology in the vehicle, Continental has created a solution that eliminates the forward blind spots of the A-pillars, helping to reduce a critical safety hazard experienced by so many road users."
In some situations, depending on the pillar's width, a linear distance of over 36 inches can end up being obstructed at just 12 feet from the pillar. This increases substantially as the distance from the vehicle grows. As a result, the design of the A-pillar is an important factor when trying to increase the driver's forward field of view.
Continental's Virtual A-Pillar is designed to address the growing problem on vehicles that need widened front pillars to meet mandatory safety testing. With new flexible OLED displays and advanced head tracking, Continental is bringing enhanced visibility to the driver's view.
Today, drivers are used to compensating for lack of forward vision by adjusting their position while driving. The Continental Virtual A-Pillar tracks these movements using an interior camera mounted just above the steering wheel. At the same time, Continental's SurroundView camera, mounted on the vehicle's exterior, feeds a live video of the vehicle's external environment to the OLED displays embedded in the A-pillars. By tracking the driver's head movements paired with the exterior live image, the Virtual A-Pillar offers a dynamic perspective for the driver, giving the driver an experience more like looking through an extended "window" rather than at a live video feed.
"This new technology allows the driver to see pedestrians and other vehicles approaching from the left and right, which would have otherwise been blocked by the A-pillar," Michels added.
With the advancements of camera and display technology, Continental's Virtual A-Pillar allows the driver to maintain a direct line of sight when turning left or right, providing additional safety for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.