Exploring seat movement while driving - what do drivers think?

Designing movement into automotive seating is a means of countering the detrimental effects of fixed sitting postures. Twelve participants (six males and six females) were recruited to perform two simulated drives of 30 minutes under two seat movement conditions, single blind and in a balanced order. Interviews were conducted to understand in detail participants’ views regarding the seat movement itself and the new seat concept. A discomfort questionnaire and a seat experience scale were completed at minute 0 (baseline) and after 30 minutes of each drive. Discomfort scores were collected for body parts - neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, buttock area, knees and ankles - and overall body. A five-point Likert scale was used to rate responses to the six descriptors on a seat experience scale. The data from interviews indicated positive effects such as feeling refreshed and improved concentration. Although all participants were aware of the seat movement they got used to it quickly - it generally did not affect their driving. The discomfort and seat experience ratings showed a trend for lower discomfort with the fore-aft seat movement condition. Driver seat movement should be as least disruptive as possible to the driver, very small, slow, smooth and slightly perceptible.