Conference PaperPDF Available

Whole-body oscillatory motion and road-transport innovations: A human-factors-and-ergonomics perspective within a ride-quality framework

Abstract

In the belief that the field of study of human responses to whole-body oscillatory motion falls within the ambit of human factors and ergonomics, a human-factors-and-ergonomics perspective is adopted here in an attempt to recognise some possible applicative reverberations of expected road-transport innovations. The need for a general framework taking into account ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ features as well as ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ implications is identified. The comprehensive concept of ride quality is suggested as a good candidate to cope with the complexity of the open problems.
Craneld University at the
Defence Academy of the United Kingdom,
Shrivenham, Wiltshire, SN6 8LA
HRV2017
52nd Human Response to Vibration
Conference & Workshop
Covering all aspects of sound,
shock and vibration effects
HRV2017: 52nd Human Response to Vibration Conference & Workshop
© Craneld University 2017
Craneld Forensic Institute,
Shrivenham
SN6 8LA, UK
www.craneld.ac.uk/CFI
www.hrv2017.co.uk
ISBN 978-1-9998301-0-6
Proceedings of the HRV2017 conference and workshop. The information contained
in this volume is meant to provide helpful information and ideas on the subjects
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Committee members
Prof Peter Zioupos (Biomechanics, CU)
Dr Gareth Appleby-Thomas (Dynamic Response, CU)
Dr Thiru Thirulogasingam (Vibration, CU)
Dr Mike Gibson (FEA & Simulations, CU)
Mr Constantinos Franceskides (Rapid prototyping models, CU)
Prof Amer Hameed (Engineering Systems, CU)
Dr Hugh Goyder (Energy Dissipation in Dynamics, CU)
Col Peter Mahoney (Anaesthesia, Visiting Prof CU)
Col Jon Clasper (Trauma & Orthopaedics, Visiting Prof Imperial)
Dr Gurmail Paddan (Acoustics & Vibration, INM Gosport)
Dr Ya Huang (Whole body vibration, Ports)
Prof Michael Grin (Human factors, ISVR, Soton)
Endorsed by the ESB
Sponsored by
HRV2017: 52nd Human Response to Vibration Conference & Workshop
Cranfield Forensic Institute, Shrivenham SN6 8LA, UK
www.cranfield.ac.uk/CFI
AUTHORS
PAPER TITLES
page
F D'Amore and Yi Qiu
WHOLE-BODY OSCILLATORY MOTION AND ROAD-TRANSPORT INNOVATIONS:
A HUMAN-FACTORS-AND-ERGONOMICS PERSPECTIVE WITHIN A RIDE-
QUALITY FRAMEWORK
1
R M van Besouw, H V C
Howarth et al.
WHERE TO SIT IN A WARRIOR: EFFECT OF CREW POSITION, SPEED AND
TERRAIN ON TRACKED VEHICLE WHOLE BODY VIBRATION
15
S R Mills and M J Griffin
THE TOUCH PERCEPTION PUZZLE: A BASIS FOR CHOOSING STIMULUS
PARAMETERS IN VIBROTACTILE PSYCHOPHYSICS
27
J Kuczyński and P
Kowalski
THE IMPACT OF CONTACT FORCE ON THE ACCURACY OF HAND-ARM
VIBRATION MEASUREMENT
38
J Clasper
TEST METHODOLOGY; CAR CRASHES ARE NOT THE SAME AS UNDER-VEHICLE
EXPLOSIONS
50
B C Fitzmaurice, G
Appleby-Thomas and J
Painter
SURVIVAL OF UNICELLULAR AND MULTICELLULAR ORGANISMS UNDER QUASI-
ONE-DIMENSIONAL SHOCK LOADING
54
P Pitts and U Kaulbars
SUMMARY REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS MEETING ON EXPOSURES
TO ISOLATED AND REPEATED SHOCK VIBRATIONS, OCTOBER 2015
61
J Wu and Y Qiu
RIDE COMFORT ANALYSIS OF HIGH-SPEED TRAIN BASED ON GEOMETRY
FILTER EFFECT OF CAR BODY BENDING
67
R Barbeau, T Weisser et
al.
OPTIMIZATION OF THE DYNAMIC COMFORT OF AUTOMOTIVE SEATS:
INVESTIGATION OF THE IMPACT OF HUMAN BODY VARIABILITY
90
D C Wood, G J Appleby-
Thomas et al.
ON THE SHOCK BEHAVIOUR AND RESPONSE OF OVIS ARIES VERTEBRAE
102
G Appleby-Thomas, B C
Fitzmaurice, et al.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING TISSUE SIMULANT MATERIAL
PROPERTIES FOR BALLISTIC APPLICATIONS
110
G S Paddan
MEASUREMENT OF WHOLE-BODY VIBRATION AND SEAT DYNAMICS IN A
RIGID INFLATABLE BOAT
117
M Cavacece and G
Aghilone
FLEXIBLE MULTIBODY SYSTEM HUMAN BODY SEATED POSTURE
131
S Urbani and J Watson
FINITE ELEMENT AND MODAL ANALYSIS OF A CRASH SLED FOR F1 VEHICLE
CRASH TESTING
143
J J Arnold and M J Griffin
DISCOMFORT CAUSED BY MULTIPLE FREQUENCY FORE-AND-AFT, LATERAL OR
VERTICAL WHOLE-BODY VIBRATION
155
J Haynes
DEVELOPING A HOLISTIC STRATEGY FOR SHOCK MITIGATION ON FAST BOATS
166
T-A Shanker and P
Zioupos
CAN VIBRATION STATISTICS OF AN IDEALISED SINE WAVE BE USED TO
EXAMINE FATIGUE PROPERTIES OF PORCINE TRABECULAR BONE?
181
H V C Howarth, R M van
Besouw, et al.
ASSESSMENT OF WHOLE-BODY VIBRATION IN MILITARY LAND VEHICLES OVER
ARMY TRAINING PROGRAMMES
190
C Noel and N Settembre
A TEST SETUP FOR MEASURING THE VIBRATION EFFECTS ON DIGITAL
ARTERIES VASOCONSTRICTION: A PRELIMINARY STUDY
202
Y Ye and M J Griffin
A COMPARISON OF VASCULAR AND SENSORINEURAL TESTS FOR THE
DIAGNOSIS OF THE HAND-ARM VIBRATION SYNDROME (HAVS)
210
HRV2017: 52nd Human Response to Vibration Conference & Workshop, Sept 5-6, 2017, Cranfield Forensic
Institute, CDS, Cranfield University, Shrivenham, UK ISBN 978-1-9998301-0-6 p. 1
WHOLE-BODY OSCILLATORY MOTION AND
ROAD-TRANSPORT INNOVATIONS: A HUMAN-FACTORS-AND-ERGONOMICS
PERSPECTIVE WITHIN A RIDE-QUALITY FRAMEWORK
Francesco D’Amore and Yi Qiu
Institute of Sound and Vibration Research
University of Southampton
Southampton, SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom
Abstract
In the belief that the field of study of human responses to whole-body oscillatory
motion falls within the ambit of human factors and ergonomics, a human-factors-
and-ergonomics perspective is adopted here in an attempt to recognise some
possible applicative reverberations of expected road-transport innovations. The
need for a general framework taking into account ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ features as well
as ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ implications is identified. The comprehensive concept
of ride quality is suggested as a good candidate to cope with the complexity of the
open problems.
1. A paradigm shift?
The world of road transport has been rapidly metamorphosing in recent years. Meanwhile, academic
scholars, management consultants, and business executives have been discussing whether and when
a paradigm shift is to take place [Corwin et al., 2016; Hannon et al., 2016; Fulton et al., 2017; Attias,
2017a]. Electrification, connection, automation, and sharing are the keywords for next-generation road
vehicles. The related processes of innovation originated at different times and, guided by different
needs, developed in different ways before starting to converge.
Despite the many technical, technological, economic, ethical, social, cultural, political, and
regulative challenges to be faced [Boulanger et al., 2011; Lu et al., 2014; Bagloee et al., 2016;
Anderson et al., 2016; Litman, 2017], major advances are expected within the automotive industry,
together with the creation of new opportunities and with the modification of value chains and business
models [Maitland and Guttmann, 2014; KPMG, 2015; Fournier, 2017].
The hype’ in the media and the speculation amongst insiders have reached incredible peaks;
nevertheless, possible developments are not very clear and it is still a matter of discussion whether the
nature of such processes of innovation will prove to be disruptive and revolutionary or rather
incremental and evolutionary [Jiang et al., 2015; Attias, 2017b]. However, the changes on the horizon
may be so significant for the world of road transport to make a paradigm shift possible and a
structured approach necessary from all the relevant points of view.
In the belief that the field of study of human responses to whole-body oscillatory motion falls within the
ambit of human factors and ergonomics, a human-factors-and-ergonomics perspective is adopted
here in an attempt to recognise some possible applicative reverberations of expected road-transport
innovations. The need for a general framework taking into account ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ features as well as
p. 2
‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ implications is identified. The comprehensive concept of ride quality is
suggested as a good candidate to cope with the complexity of the open problems.
2. Electrification, connection, automation, and sharing
Amongst the ongoing processes of innovation, electrification was almost certainly the first to be
conceived, discussed, and put into practice. Despite the first prototypes dating back to the 1820s,
electric propulsion reached its heyday only in the early 1900s by virtue of the advantages brought over
fuel propulsion in terms of power, startability, and controllability [Brinkman et al., 2012; Matulka, 2014].
After a decline in the 1920s, a renaissance had to wait until the energy crisis of the 1970s and the
emergence of the idea of sustainable transport in the 1980s, when the need to diversify energy
sources, to moderate resource consumption, to reduce air-pollutant emissions, and, later, to oppose
climate change started to gain momentum in public opinion as well as in academic, political, and
industrial environments [Brinkman et al., 2012; Matulka, 2014]. Eventually, during the 1990s and the
2000s, the development of automotive electronics and the hybridisation of propulsion systems led to a
proliferation of electric vehicles (EVs), which, with respect to electrical grids, may be totally dependent,
as in the case of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), totally independent, as in the case of hybrid electric
vehicles (HEVs), or partially dependent, as in the case of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)
[Kumar and Jain, 2014]. In the future, electric vehicles are expected to integrate with smart grids
[Mwasilu et al., 2014] consisting of energy-distribution infrastructures evolved so as to become
physical substrates for bidirectional information exchange and notably so as to perform some of the
functions of communication, control, and management needed to implement other processes of
innovation.
Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) [Bimbraw, 2015; Bell et al., 2016; McCarthy et al., 2016;
SMMT, 2017] are driving automation systems, of five different standardised levels of driving
automation [SAE International, 2016], that are integrated in ‘ecosystems’ known as Internet of Things
(IoT) and more specifically as Internet of Vehicles (IoV) [Yang et al., 2014; Lengton et al., 2015], and
that exchange information with any entity that may affect them through vehicular communication
systems known as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and more specifically as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and
vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) [Sprouffske, 2013]. In fact, there is no uniformity of views on the eventual
convergence between the processes of connection and automation, nor is it clear whether connected
and autonomous vehicles may be part of future Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) [Directive
2010/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, 2010; Zmud et al., 2015]; however,
connected and autonomous vehicles, ideally to be deployed within ‘archipelagos’ of sustainable,
functional, and networked smart cities [Geoffron, 2017], are expected to change significantly not only
the ride experience, but also the urban environment [Cuddy et al., 2014].
From a socio-economic point of view, the controversial transition from a product-oriented traditional
economy, based on individual ownership, to a service-oriented sharing economy, based on collective
access, has been giving rise to momentous social changes in most countries [Puschmann and Alt,
2016; Frenken and Schor, 2017]. While habitually clear distinctions have been fading, be they between
manufacturers and consumers of products or between suppliers and users of services, evolving
p. 3
lifestyle and values scale of today’s young adults have been redefining, perhaps irreversibly, the very
concepts of consumption and use as interpreted by the millennial generation [Godelnik, 2017].
Shared mobility, driven by economic and environmental factors [Böcker and Meelen, 2017], is probably
the most vital and rapidly evolving expression of sharing economy [Feigon and Murphy, 2016;
International Transport Forum, 2016]. Within the epoch of liquid modernity, in which some descry “the
growing conviction that change is the only permanence, and uncertainty the only certainty” [Bauman,
2012, p. viii], road vehicles tend to be seen less and less as status symbols [Adam, 2015], let alone as
totemic representations of individual freedom [D’Costa, 2013], and more and more as mobility tools
[Attias, 2017a]. In fact, exercise of individual freedom may progressively result in people just not
wanting or even not being able at all to drive, taking advantage, by preference, of the attractive
flexibility offered by a plethora of new opportunities such as car-sharing, microtransit, ride-sharing,
ride-sourcing, and ride-splitting [Feigon and Murphy, 2016]. Interestingly, some even deem possible
that driving automation systems allow alternative travel suppliers to acquire market shares at the
expense of established short-range terrestrial and aerial competitors [Fairs, 2015; Hazan et al., 2016].
Despite the enthusiasm palpable in some environments, it is spreading the view that, in the long term,
electrification, connection, automation, and sharing can be sustainable and beneficial only if
implemented together [Hannon et al., 2016; Fulton et al., 2017]. In particular, considering that private
road vehicles are characterised by very low average values of occupancy rate (of the order of 1.5
persons per vehicle in the United Kingdom in the years from 2004 to 2008 [European Environment
Agency, 2010]) and by very high average values of idle time (approximately 96 % of the total time in
the United Kingdom in the years from 2002 to 2008 [Bates and Leibling, 2012]), widespread adoption
of connected and autonomous vehicles is deemed by some to be sustainable only in a road-transport
scenario dominated by shared electric mobility [Schonberger and Gutmann, 2013; Offer, 2015].
Summarising with the effective words of Attias [2017a, p. 17],
The traditional concept of a powerful, personal car is being replaced by other types
of mobility. The social symbols, priorities and preferences of young people are no
longer the same. Real-time access to information has become essential. Mobility is
more important than power. People want to remain constantly connected to their
environment. Cars can no longer be considered as an end in themselves, but as
tools for gaining mobility. These new services contribute to the arrival of new types
of mobility that are more relaxed, rational and sustainable, and to the emergence of
a new ecosystem.
3. A human-factors-and-ergonomics perspective
Should electric, connected, autonomous, and shared road vehicles become the norm, significant
behavioural changes would be to expect amongst users [Jamson et al., 2013; Trommer et al., 2016].
As well as air pollutants, noise and vibration would be emitted to a lesser extent by electric powertrains
than by conventional powertrains. However, as an undesirable effect, otherwise overshadowed noise
and vibration might emerge as a result of a ‘draining of the swamp’ [Goetchius, 2011] and,
paradoxically, become a bigger issue for road-vehicle users who might have, especially in this respect,
higher expectations about electric vehicles.
p. 4
Being more often passengers rather than drivers, road-vehicle users might engage in new (on-board)
activities and a more productive, enjoyable, and relaxing use of time would be possible; work,
entertainment, socialisation, and even relaxation would increasingly enter ride experience, providing
new opportunities of human-machine and human-human interaction [Laurier and Dant, 2011].
For traffic flows to be manageable and for new (on-board) activities to be practicable, new
(autonomous) driving styles would become prominent: average speed values would be lower, lane
changes would be less frequent, and vehicle paths would be optimised [Jamson et al., 2013; Le Vine
et al., 2015; Elbanhawi et al., 2015]. As a result, within the classic compromise between performance
and comfort, the balance point would shift towards the latter.
Adopting a human-factors-and-ergonomics perspective, new (on-board) activities and new
(autonomous) driving styles would imply new motion environments and new seating configurations to
be taken into account [van Veen et al., 2014; Ive et al., 2015], as well as new issues to be addressed,
especially in terms of situational awareness, activity interference, and motion sickness [Sivak and
Schoettle, 2015; Cunningham and Regan, 2015; Kyriakidis et al., 2017].
In order to meet vehicle habitability needs that are appropriate to the contemplated road-transport
scenario, significant advances in vehicle interiors and, more specifically, in vehicle seats are to be
pursued. Indeed, interest in the topic is growing rapidly within academic and industrial communities, to
the point that specialised symposia are now organised [Uki Media & Events, 2017]; moreover, some
insiders even predict that exterior design is to lose importance to the benefit of interior design [Fell,
2017]. Ultimately, if vehicle interiors become living spaces alongside home and office, improving ride
experience as a whole may well pass through creating what marketing enthusiasts have already
started to promote as seating experience [Rychel, 2016; Wysocky, 2016; Dobrian, 2016].
4. Ride quality and comfort
As a norm, customer satisfaction is the explicit or implicit basis of business models, both as a starting
point (motivation) and as an end point (objective). International Standard ISO 9000:2015 formally
defines customer satisfaction as the “customer’s perception of the degree to which the customer’s
expectations have been fulfilled” [International Organization for Standardization, 2015]. In a road-
transport scenario in which comfort is valued more than performance, it is reasonable to expect that
ride experience may be strongly affected by human-factors-and-ergonomics issues. Stated otherwise,
to fulfil customer expectations at the core of customer satisfaction, it may be necessary to provide
future road-vehicle users with higher degrees of ride quality.
In the context of automotive engineering, the expressions primary ride, secondary ride (or shake), and
harshness normally refer to oscillatory motion of the sprung mass of a vehicle respectively in the
‘lower’ frequency range (up to 5 Hz), in the ‘intermediate’ frequency range (between 5 Hz and 30 Hz),
and in the ‘higher’ frequency range (between 30 Hz and 100 Hz) [SAE International, 2008].
However, in the context of human responses to oscillatory motion, the term ride normally refers to the
“measurable motion environment (including vibration, shock, translational and rotational accelerations)
as experienced by people in or on a vehicle” [International Organization for Standardization, 1997b].
p. 5
On this basis, International Standard ISO 5805:1997 defines the derived concept of ride quality as the
“degree to which the whole subjective experience (including the motion environment and associated
factors) of a journey or ensemble of journeys by vehicle is perceived and rated as favourable or
unfavourable by passengers or operators” [International Organization for Standardization, 1997b].
In the specified context, the expression ride quality has been in use for several decades essentially
with reference to the sole motion environment [Green, 2012]; nevertheless, with the aforementioned
standardised definition, it assumes an extremely broader meaning. While (dynamic sitting) comfort can
be understood, with reference to the sole motion environment, as the “subjective state of well-being or
absence of mechanical disturbance in relation to the induced environment (mechanical vibration or
repetitive shock)” [International Organization for Standardization, 1997b], ride quality is to be regarded
as a complex psychophysical percept reflecting the whole subjective experience and integrating many
subjective human responses related not only to dynamic sitting comfort, but also, inter alia, to static
sitting comfort, acoustic comfort, visual comfort, thermal comfort, and olfactory comfort [International
Organization for Standardization, 2006]. Furthermore, one should not ignore the contribution of ‘soft’
affective/emotional features (as opposed to ‘hard’ functional/ergonomic features) that are linked to
consumers’ feeling and image of products and that are also referred to by means of the multifaceted
Japanese word kansei [Tanoue et al., 1997].
To summarise, ride quality may be regarded as a standardised and measurable counterpart of some
undefined and undetermined idea of overall ‘ride feeling’. Starting from the 1980s, customer
expectations in terms of ride quality have grown so significantly within the automotive market that new
noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) departments have been created by most manufacturers in order
to conduct specialised research and development focussing on acoustic comfort and dynamic sitting
comfort [Mansfield, 2005]. More generally, approaches taking into account a greater number of
possibly influential factors should be attempted in order to understand the relative importance and the
interactions of the various factors [Oborne, 1978].
That being said, it is not entirely clear what comfort actually is from a psychophysical point of view, nor
what relations subsist between comfort and its alleged opposite discomfort; in particular, it is still
unknown whether comfort and discomfort can be understood one as absence of the other or,
alternatively, they should be regarded as distinct, possibly multidimensional, psychophysical percepts
[Zhang et al., 1996; de Looze et al., 2003]. Besides, although standardised definitions can provide
useful reference and help to limit misunderstandings in practical situations, relying too much on them
may result in overrating current knowledge.
Beyond the psychological and philosophical disputes on the semantic value of the word comfort, it is
well recognised that sitting comfort, both static and dynamic, plays a key role in the wider context of
ride quality [Ebe and Griffin, 2000; Mansfield, 2013]. Specifically, at least in static sitting conditions,
correlations are known between the subjective well-being and the surface distribution of contact
actions at the seat-occupant interface [de Looze et al., 2003; Hiemstra-van Mastrigt et al., 2017];
however, in order to cope satisfactorily with the study of sitting comfort for road-transport applications,
p. 6
structured approaches may be needed to take into account all the potentially influential factors [Kolich,
2008; da Silva et al., 2012].
5. Comfort and protection
Modern road vehicles are parts of very complex human-machine systems whose conception and
design benefit from a human-oriented approach taking into account, amongst others, requirements of
comfort and protection [Braess and Reichart, 1990]. Nevertheless, within research and development
environments, comfort and protection issues have been habitually addressed by applied scientists and
engineers who are active in the different and rarely interacting communities of human factors and
ergonomics and of vehicle safety; in fact, comfort and protection do overlap. By way of example, it is
now acknowledged that the design of vehicle seats has implications in terms of both comfort and
protection. On the one hand, while not being reducible to this, vehicle seats can be regarded as
occupant restraint systems with full rights [Adomeit, 1979]; on the other hand, ergonomically designed
vehicle seats are likely to allow road-vehicle users to stay in better, and ultimately safer, conditions.
According to International Standard ISO 7862:2004, an occupant restraint system is an “arrangement
of components which is intended to diminish the risk of injury to the occupant in the event of a vehicle
collision by controlling the occupant displacement and acceleration” [International Organization for
Standardization, 2004]; as opposed to active safety systems, which reduce the risk of injury by
reducing the probability of occurrence of the injury, occupant restraint systems are usually regarded as
passive safety systems, which reduce the risk of injury by reducing the severity of the injury.
With the advent of next-generation road vehicles, the traditional distinction between active and passive
safety systems is likely to become less and less clear [Class et al., 2013; ZF TRW, 2016; van Ratingen
et al., 2016]; moreover, in a road-transport scenario in which new (on-board) activities may result in
increased interaction with human occupants, the role of occupant restraint systems is likely to become
even more relevant. Two guiding principles have already been implemented in advanced restraint
systems, notably adjustability (capability of accommodating human occupants having different
anthropometric properties and taking different body postures) and predictivity (capability of being
activated early and reversibly using data from environmental sensors, such as radars or cameras, or
from active safety systems, such as the electronic stability control and the emergency brake assist);
one more guiding principle, adaptability (capability of accommodating human occupants performing
different on-board activities and experiencing different motion environments), is suggested here as
worthy of attention.
It is not easy to make predictions about the impact that next-generation road vehicles may have on
vehicle safety, especially in terms of risk of injury. On the one hand, lower values of average speed,
less frequent lane changes, and optimised vehicle paths should have a beneficial effect. On the other
hand, situational awareness and out of position may become major concerns; indeed, the very concept
of out of position will probably need redefinition. It is worth noting that, at present, vehicle-safety issues
of next-generation road vehicles seem to have been investigated focussing more on possible collisions
due to errors in traffic-flow management than on human-factors-and-ergonomics implications.
p. 7
In addition to vehicle seats themselves, occupant restraint systems in use include safety belts, safety
harnesses, airbags, knee bolsters, padded dashboards, collapsible steering columns, laminated
windshields, cargo barriers, anti-intrusion bars, safety cells, and crumple zones [Snyder, 1969; States,
1988]. Amongst all these, safety belts and safety harnesses are the only ones in continuous and close
contact with seated human occupants of road vehicles. By fulfilling functions of primary (as opposed to
secondary or supplemental) occupant restraint systems, safety belts and safety harnesses have been
shown for decades to be key for the sake of vehicle safety [Hodson-Walker, 1970; Johannessen,
1984; Road Safety Observatory, 2013]. Indeed, the necessity of safety belts and safety harnesses is
questioned rather seldom [Adams, 2007; Allsop et al., 2008], and their use has long since been
mandatory by law in many countries of the world [Weiss et al., 2006] and in a wide range of situations
[Glassbrenner et al., 2004]. Understandably, vehicle safety implications of safety belts and safety
harnesses have been investigated quite extensively [Huston, 2001]. Conversely, human-factors-and-
ergonomics implications have been considered relatively seldom and, however, more from a static
point of view [Dejeammes et al., 1984; Balci et al., 2001; Chen et al., 2003] than from a dynamic point
of view [Wyllie and Griffin, 2007, 2009; Zhao and Schindler, 2014].
6. The need for a general framework
The field of study of human responses to whole-body oscillatory motion is highly multidisciplinary in
nature; indeed, it integrates knowledge and skills from several domains including engineering,
industrial design, anthropometry, biomechanics, physiology, medicine, and psychology [Griffin, 1990].
Because of this manifold character, advocated is here the appropriateness of considering it within the
ambit of human factors and ergonomics, which seems to provide a cultural substrate wide enough to
allow taking into account soft’ and ‘hard features as well as subjective and objective implications.
Human responses to whole-body oscillatory motion in the context of road-transport applications
aroused some research interest already in the early 1930s [Hirshfield, 1933]. However, as can be
shown through a targeted search-result analysis within the Scopus bibliographic database, the topic
emerged of its pioneering niche only in the 1960s. Eventually, it was in the 1990s that the number of
related publications started to increase significantly.
In the light of the knowledge gained since the early years, widely recognised is by now the importance
of understanding the relations between subjective human responses (dependent on individuals’
judgement) and objective human responses (independent of individuals’ judgement) to whole-body
oscillatory motion. Nevertheless, despite the conspicuous amount of research already conducted, still
many questions remain to be answered [Sandover, 1986; Griffin, 1990; Gierke, 1997; Mansfield, 2005;
Brammer and Peterson, 2009].
From an industrial point of view, careful conception and design of vehicle seats have proved decisive
for road-vehicle users, be they drivers or passengers, to be provided with ‘adequate’ ride quality not
only in terms of comfort, protection, and other ‘hard’ functional/ergonomic features, but also of in terms
of several ‘soft’ affective/emotional features. Indeed, pertinent design guidelines [Huston and Genaidy,
1997] and technical standards [British Standards Institution, 1987; International Organization for
p. 8
Standardization, 1997a, 2004, 2016] do exist; however, new and updated ones need to be developed,
ideally on scientific rather than on heuristic grounds.
It is well known that the characteristics of vehicle seats have a significant influence on both subjective
human responses and objective human responses to whole-body oscillatory motion [Griffin, 1990].
Indeed, vehicle seat and human occupant together form a seat-occupant system that can and often
should be regarded as a whole. The hypothesis is here advanced that, more generally, the seat-
occupant-restraint system may need to be regarded as a whole.
Ultimately, in order to bridge the gap between subjective human responses and objective human
responses, a general framework for the study of human responses to whole-body oscillatory motion
may need to be considered within the ambit of human factors and ergonomics. In the specific case of
road-transport applications, and especially in expectation of next-generation road vehicles, it may be
appropriate to focus on the comprehensive concept of ride quality taking into account human
responses related not only to comfort, protection, and other ‘hard’ functional/ergonomic features, but
also to several ‘soft’ affective/emotional features. Within this framework, the seat-occupant-restraint
system may need to be regarded as a whole.
7. A synthetic glimpse
The world of road transport has been rapidly metamorphosing in recent years. Despite the many
challenges to be faced, major advances are expected within the automotive industry. Electrification,
connection, automation, and sharing are the keywords for next-generation road vehicles. Although it is
still a matter of discussion whether the nature of such processes of innovation will prove to be
disruptive and revolutionary or rather incremental and evolutionary, the changes on the horizon may be
so significant to make a paradigm shift possible.
Should electric, connected, autonomous, and shared road vehicles become the norm, significant
behavioural changes would be to expect. Being more often passengers rather than drivers, road-
vehicle users might engage in new (on-board) activities. New (autonomous) driving styles would
become prominent and, within the classic compromise between performance and comfort, the balance
point would shift towards the latter. Adopting a human-factors-and-ergonomics perspective, new (on-
board) activities and new (autonomous) driving styles would imply new motion environments and new
seating configurations to be taken into account, as well as new issues to be addressed. Accordingly,
significant advances in vehicle interiors and, more specifically, in vehicle seats are to be pursued.
In a road-transport scenario in which comfort is valued more than performance, to fulfil customer
expectations at the core of customer satisfaction it may be necessary to provide road-vehicle users
with higher degrees of ride quality. Ride quality is to be regarded as a complex psychophysical percept
reflecting the whole subjective experience or, in other words, as a standardised and measurable
counterpart of some undefined and undetermined idea of overall ‘ride feeling’. While emphasising that
one should not ignore the contribution of ‘soft’ affective/emotional features (as opposed to ‘hard’
functional/ergonomic features), it is well recognised that sitting comfort, both static and dynamic, plays
a key role in the wider context of ride quality.
p. 9
Comfort and protection issues have been habitually addressed by applied scientists and engineers
who are active in the different and rarely interacting communities of human factors and ergonomics
and of vehicle safety; in fact, comfort and protection do overlap. Moreover, in a road-transport scenario
in which new (on-board) activities may result in increased interaction with human occupants, the role of
occupant restraint systems is likely to become even more relevant. Two guiding principles have
already been implemented in advanced restraint systems, notably adjustability and predictivity; one
more guiding principle, adaptability, is suggested here as worthy of attention.
In order to bridge the gap between subjective human responses and objective human responses, a
general framework for the study of human responses to whole-body oscillatory motion may need to be
considered within the ambit of human factors and ergonomics. In the specific case of road-transport
applications, and especially in expectation of next-generation road vehicles, it may be appropriate to
focus on the comprehensive concept of ride quality taking into account human responses related not
only to comfort, protection, and other ‘hard’ functional/ergonomic features, but also to several ‘soft
affective/emotional features. Within this framework, the seat-occupant-restraint system may need to
be regarded as a whole.
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