Deployment of Preemption Based Motion Sickness Prevention Technology on a Testbed Vehicle in Mcity

Phase I: The goal of this integrative research project is to develop and demonstrate a passenger motion sickness mitigation solution that employs preemptive or anticipatory control of Active Seats in autonomous vehicles. The resulting proof of concept will enable implementation and deployment of the proposed technology. Motion sickness when traveling in a vehicle is a common condition that afflicts one in three adults in the US. Moreover, passengers who are not driving the vehicle experience such motion sickness more acutely compared to the driver of the vehicle. This is due to the driver’s ability to make anticipatory corrections when initiating a driving action that involves acceleration (e.g. speeding up, breaking, or taking turns). These anticipatory corrections by the driver (such as tightening their abdominal core muscles when braking or leaning their body/head into the direction of the turn when turning) help prepare the driver for the accelerations associated with the driving actions slightly ahead of time, whereas the passenger ends up passively reacting to these driving actions. With the impending transformation in ground transportation due to autonomous vehicles, where every occupant is a passive passenger, the deleterious effects of motion sickness on the passenger comfort and productivity during their commute is expected to be significant. The proposed solution strategy leverages the existing science on the causes of motion sickness (including the sensory conflict, neural mismatch, and postural instability theories), and the well-known benefits of anticipatory corrective action in mitigating the same. In this project, we will develop a test vehicle equipped with Active Seats capable of roll, pitch, and yaw motions that can be controlled preemptively based on apriori knowledge of the driving conditions in a closed-track testing facility (M-City). These driving conditions include vehicle path/route (including turns and stop and go events), vehicle speed and acceleration profiles, and vehicle parameters and dynamics. Based on this apriori knowledge of driving conditions, we will develop algorithms that preemptively control the Active Seat, for example starting to tilt the seat towards the direction of a turn slightly before the turn happens. Our hypothesis is that such preemptive correction will provide anticipation and reduce body movement, thereby lowering the incidence of passenger motion sickness. Thus, the passenger of an autonomous vehicle equipped with the proposed technology will no longer be entirely passive and instead be more like the driver of a traditional vehicle. Phase II: The objective of this project is to deploy a novel motion sickness prevention technology (PREACT) on a custom-designed vehicle testbed in MCity, and experimentally validate its efficacy under realistic driving conditions with human subjects. The PREACT technology employs prediction algorithms to anticipate impending inertial events associated with driving and makes preemptive interventions (e.g. via tip/tilt seat, tightening seat-belt, and haptic stimuli) before the inertial events actually happen, thereby averting motion sickness. The project team's previous CCAT grant (Phase I) has enabled the development of all the key components of the PREACT technology – the vehicle testbed comprising various mechatronic modules (active tip/tilt seat and active passenger stimuli); extensive instrumentation to measure the states of the vehicle and the passenger; the prediction algorithms necessary to preemptively trigger the mechatronic modules; an MCity path that emulates city and highway driving; and, an IRB approved human subject testing protocol. The project team are now submitting this new proposal (Phase II) with the objective of bringing together and integrating all these previously developed PREACT components into an operational technology. By mitigating motion sickness and enhancing comfort and productivity for passengers, the PREACT technology will help overcome a major practical impediment in the adoption of Autonomous Vehicles by the society. This, in turn, will usher in the numerous benefits of AVs – fewer road accidents and fatalities, reduced traffic congestion, lower energy consumption and environmental footprint, reclaimed productivity for passengers, and equitable access to transportation.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $250,000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    University Transportation Center Program

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    2350 Hayward
    Ann Arbor, MI  United States  48109-2125
  • Project Managers:

    Tucker-Thomas, Dawn

    Bezzina, Debra

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

    2901 Baxter Road
    Ann Arbor, Michigan  United States  48109
  • Principal Investigators:

    Awtar, Shorya

    Martin, Bernard

  • Start Date: 20201001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240229
  • Actual Completion Date: 20240222
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Subprogram: Research

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01754279
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Connected and Automated Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747105
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 6 2020 2:16PM