Long-term discomfort evaluation: comparison of reported discomfort between a concept elevated driving posture and a conventional driving posture

Mounting a seat higher in a vehicle, in comparison to a conventional driving posture, will benefit vehicle design by reducing vehicles’ mass and as a result, possibly reducing emissions over the lifecycle of the vehicle. This paper reports on a study with the objective of comparing reported long-term discomfort between a concept elevated posture seat and a production conventional driving posture seat. A sample of 20 commercial drivers (10 males, 10 females) aged 19-65, were recruited for the study. A concept seat was developed from a seat fitting trial study [1] and a second rig was designed and constructed to replicate a benchmark production seat in a conventional LCV driving posture. In two separate trials, participants were required to perform a driving simulation task whilst exposed to whole-body vibration and report their discomfort in 10 minute intervals over 50-minutes of driving. Results indicated that at 50-minutes of driving, there were significant differences in reported discomfort for the right shoulder and the lower back between the postures, with the conventional posture having the higher discomfort ratings. Additionally, the musculoskeletal fatigue effects for both postures (progression of discomfort over time) fell in line with the literature.