Effect of long term driving on driver discomfort and its relationship with seat fidgets and movements (SFMs)

Discomfort in vehicle seats is a multifactorial problem with large increases in discomfort occurring during extended duration driving. Due to the nature of driver discomfort, previous research has found it difficult to accurately quantify long term driver discomfort via the use of objective measures. This paper reports a laboratory study that investigates a novel objective measure of long term driver discomfort and its correlation with subjective discomfort ratings. Analysis of driver’s seat fidgets and movements was conducted over the duration of a 140 minute drive on a driving simulator in addition to collecting subjective ratings of discomfort. It is shown that as subjects’ subjective discomfort increases, the frequency of subjects’ seat fidgets and movements increases congruently. A large correlation is observed between the subjective and objective measures of driver discomfort and provides the opportunity for long term discomfort evaluations to be made via remote monitoring; removing the need for subjective assessment.