The effects of three automobile seats on were evaluated for autonomous car applications.
Active suspension seats significantly reduced WBV, related muscle activity and discomfort.
The seats did not affect non-driving task performance and motion sickness.
This study evaluated whole body vibration (WBV), non-driving task performance, muscle activity, and self-reported discomfort and motion sickness between different seat suspension systems in a simulated vehicle environment. In a repeated-measures laboratory experiment where field-measured 6-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) passenger vehicle vibration was replicated on a 6-DOF motion platform, we measured WBV, non-driving task (pointing, typing, web-browsing, and reading) performance, low back (erector spinae), shoulders (trapezius) and neck (splenius capitis and sternocleido-mastoid) muscle activity, and self-reported discomfort and motion sickness from three different seats: a vertical (z-axis) active suspension, multi-axial active suspension [vertical (z-axis) + lateral (y-axis)], and a static suspension-less seat (current seat type in all passenger cars). Both the vertical and multi-axial active suspension seats significantly reduced the vertical WBV exposure (p < 0.0001). However, no significant differences were found in non-driving task performance (p > 0.30), muscle activity (p > 0.22), self-reported discomfort (p > 0.07), and motion sickness (p = 0.53) across three different seats. These findings indicate that the active suspension seats may have potential to future reduce the vertical and total WBV exposures, respectively. However, none of the suspension seats demonstrate any significant benefits on the non-driving task performance, muscle activity, self-reported discomfort and motion sickness measures in a simulated vehicle environment.