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Ford is Trying to Stop Your Kids from Puking

2017 Ford Fusion Platinum

Few things are more annoying than trying to extract vomit from cloth upholstery while pulled over at a gas station. Depending on the meal that preceded the involuntary stomach evacuation, it could be a tough slog.

Ford Motor Company, always one for innovation, is actively seeking out ways to reduce instances of lost lunches and tossed cookies. No, it hasn’t installed a “turkey dinner” mode on its Fusion Sport, but it has put its German research and development team on the case.

Automakers, in their never-ending quest for greater passenger comfort and handling prowess, have apparently neglected to lend some thought towards car sickness that plagues a good number of road trip passengers. As children, we were warned against reading while sitting in the back of dad’s Cutlass (I never saw it happen), but whose kids are reading in 2017? I’d hazard a guess of “none.”

However, today’s children are usually on their tablet, phone, or watching a Pixar flick on a seatback-mounted screen — even while going to the grocery store.

With the help of motion sickness experts, Ford has conducted tests showing that “passengers who stared at screens for the duration of a short journey fell ill after an average of just 10 minutes.” All of the test subjects were adults, the automaker claims.

As there’s only so much that can be done to offset the upsetting vehicle motions that come from potholes, twisty roads and expansion joints, Ford has turned its attention to the screen itself. Situational awareness — something that’s no stranger to those who were forced to use their imaginations on pre-tablet road trips — plays a big role. Upchucking occurs when the body and brain interpret different signals. Without warning, the interior of your Explorer can instantly resemble a Carnival cruise liner hit by a norovirus outbreak.

“In the initial testing it was found that when screens were mounted higher, and the road ahead could be seen on either side, volunteers were less likely to feel sick,” the automaker said in a statement. “Further experiments will explore alternative ways that journeys could be displayed in the cabin so that unseeing passengers can be warned of events such as twisty roads or hump backed bridges.”

Think of it as a DEW Line, only for nausea instead of Soviet bombers.

There’s no mention of Gravol or ginger ale dispensers appearing in the foreseeable future, but the findings from Ford’s research could influence vehicle design and content in the coming years. Additionally, the automaker listed ways drivers can lessen the chances of car sickness right now. Part of that includes not driving like the bus driver training instructor of Bob Newhart fame.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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