Audi Solving Autonomous Car Sickness With Cross-Reality Tech

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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Carmakers are concerned about the adverse effects autonomous cars will have on people. And I don’t mean whether they’ll be afraid to ride in them or how pedestrians will communicate with them. No, as of late automakers seem to have just one predominant worry: car sickness.

  • Holoride uses cross-reality (XR) headsets and augment virtual reality images to help passengers in autonomous cars with car sickness.
  • The system shows riders images based on what an autonomous car is actually doing using data gathered from instruments in the car’s trunk.
  • Not only will XR entertain self-driving vehicle occupants, it has the potential to limit carsickness.
  • XR is a more extreme and tech-heavy solution to carsickness, compared to what VW and Citroen have developed to counteract the common affliction.

A startup funded by an Audi subsidiary called Holoride seems to have perhaps the most distinctive solution to autonomous car related sickness yet. It’s called cross-reality, or XR. Right now, Holoride is working on XR that both removes occupants from the autonomous car ride experience with virtual reality (VR) and also adds back in a bit of that ride experience.

It works like traditional VR but takes into account data from sensors mounted in the vehicle trunk. When the self-driving car accelerates or brakes, the system knows that and translates it into what the viewer is seeing. If, for example, you were swimming with whales in your XR headset, and the car turned, you might be sloshed over to see the other side of the pod.

Volkswagen Group carsickness research
Volkswagen Group car sickness research. | Photo: VW Group

The driving idea behind Holoride is to not only axe the monotony of an autonomous car ride but to also limit carsickness. It reduces car sickness by adding in visual correlation to the vehicle’s movements, the disconnect between the movement the body is sensing and what a rider’s eyes are seeing is often the cause of carsickness.

Audi’s Holoride isn’t the only brand working on solving autonomous car-caused carsickness. Volkswagen and Citroen are, too. VW is working on flashing LEDs at passengers, to give the brain signals of what the car is doing — accelerating or braking. Meanwhile, Citroen has developed glasses that mimic the horizon in people’s vision and periphery.

It’s great that carmakers are throwing tons of money at high-tech car sickness solutions. I have to wonder, though: What happened to looking out a window?

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About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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