In-Car use of VR HMDs by passengers


Immersive HMDs are becoming everyday consumer items and, as they offer new possibilities for entertainment and productivity, people will want to use them during travel in, for example, autonomous cars. However, their use is confounded by motion sickness caused in-part by the restricted visual perception of motion conflicting with physically perceived vehicle motion (accelerations/rotations detected by the vestibular system). Whilst VR HMDs restrict visual perception of motion, they could also render it virtually, potentially alleviating sensory conflict.

Accordingly, we conducted the first on-road and in motion study to systematically investigate the effects of various visual presentations of the real-world motion of a car on the sickness and immersion of VR HMD wearing passengers. We established new baselines for VR in-car motion sickness, and found that there is no one best presentation with respect to balancing sickness and immersion. Instead, user preferences suggest different solutions are required for differently susceptible users to provide usable VR in-car. This work was published in CHI 2017 (see reference below), receiving an Honorable Mention award in the process, and provided formative insights for VR designers as well as an entry point for further research into enabling use of VR HMDs, and the rich experiences they offer, when travelling.


  •  McGill, M., Ng, A., and Brewster, S.: I Am The Passenger: How Visual Motion Cues Can Influence Sickness For In-Car VR. In Proceedings of the 35th Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’17, ACM Press, 2017.