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Apple patents VR system for self-driving cars — and thinks you won’t puke

Apple has filed a patent for an in-car virtual reality system for autonomous vehicles.

If you think this sounds like an epic recipe for car sickness, as the car moves one way and the VR experience moves the other, then you’re not alone.

On the surface, this sounds like a horrible idea, leading to barf bags coming as standard in most self-driving vehicles.

However, the patent, first reported by Patently Apple, seems to take this into consideration.

Interestingly, the system features sensors that will conceivably detect when passengers begin sweating, fighting and swallowing, or whether their heart rate is up — all signs of the onset of motion sickness.

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As a result, the VR experience can then be tailored to the journey, which could have the knock-on effect of enhancing it.

Apple VR car

The patent says: “The virtual environments ma be altered to accommodate a passenger upon determining that the passenger is prone to or is exhibiting signs of motion sickness.”

Beyond avoiding a barf-fest, the company says the system could be used for virtual meetings while one member of the office commutes.

Users could also choose to have their favourite author read a book to them, or to replace their boring commute with a journey through one of the world’s great cities, or even a zombie chase (via VentureBeat).

It could also be used with an “active seat” for entertainment experiences, Apple says.

The patent reads: “Passengers may choose to have relaxing virtual experiences … such as floating down a river or soaring over the landscape in a hang glider, or exciting virtual experiences such as a car chase or driving through a post-apocalyptic wasteland with zombies attacking … if the vehicle stops at a red light or for some other reason when fleeing zombies … the virtual experience may cause the vehicle to appear to stall and not allow the car to be restarted until the light turns green to build suspense.”

The patent is significant given Apple’s ongoing work in augmented reality and in the automotive sector. We’re still not sure about the puke-proof idea though.

Do you think you could survive a car journey while wearing a VR headset? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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