Title page for ETD etd-07252004-175717

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Boggs, Christopher Matthew
Author's Email Address cmb@vt.edu
URN etd-07252004-175717
Title Field Study to Evaluate Driver Fatigue Performance in Air-Inflated Truck Seats
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ahmadian, Mehdi Committee Chair
Madigan, Michael L. Committee Member
Sandu, Corina Committee Member
  • air-inflated seat cushion
  • fatigue metrics
Date of Defense 2004-07-21
Availability unrestricted
This study conducted a series of road tests in the regular fleet operations of a revenue service to better understand the relationship between vehicle seat design and driver fatigue, improve two newly proposed objective methods for evaluating driver fatigue, and provide design guidelines for evaluating and improving vehicle seat characteristics in terms of driver fatigue.

Each driver completed a test session on two seat cushions - one a polyurethane foam cushion and one an air-inflated cushion. Objective measurements of pressure distribution were taken throughout each test session, while subjective measurements were collected using surveys taken at one-hour intervals.

Based on these results, we find that the air-inflated seat cushion has advantages in terms of subjective measures of comfort, support, and fatigue. We show that the objective measure aPcrms highlights characteristic differences between seat cushions, as the air-inflated seat cushion provides less area in high pressure regions, thus occluding less blood flow to tissue in the seated area. While we were unable to effectively assess the validity of the proposed measures or improve them further, the characteristic difference between seat cushions is not highlighted by using previously existing objective measures. This implies that aPcrms is a more useful measure and should be considered when evaluating the subjective quality of seat cushion designs under dynamic conditions, such as those existing in commercial truck driving.

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