On Objective Measures for Ride Comfort Evaluation

Abstract: An essential tool in the truck development process is the ability to quantify and grade vehicle dynamic behavior. Today this is performed either through subjective or objective tests. Subjective tests have the disadvantage that numerous factors influence test drivers’ opinions while objective measures have the advantage of repeatability. However, objective methods of today are often only able to provide a rough grading of vehicles. The main objective with this thesis is to develop more sensitive objective methods for ride comfort evaluation. An effective test procedure to measure driver perception sensitivity to small differences in vehicle ride is suggested and utilized. The driver sensitivity is tested on dynamic behavior that is typically graded in vehicle development. Cab motions from a truck are first measured and then recreated in a simulator where a test driver is seated. The perception threshold for small changes in typical vehicle motion is established in this way for each test person. The perception sensitivity tests indicate that humans are quite sensitive to transients in vehicle motion. One problem with many common vehicle ride measures is that the impact of transient behavior is small due to the averaging used to condense the measurement data into scalar measures. A new evaluation method for ride comfort, with influences from the well known handling diagram, is suggested. This method has four main advantages: it is fairly simple to interpret, it shows the absolute vibration level, it considers transient events separately and it shows changes in vehicle character with increasing excitation. Promising results from both measurements and simulations are derived. New technology has made it possible to vary vehicle suspension parameters during vehicle ride. In order to prescribe different damping for different vehicle modes, modal motion estimates are needed. A system identification approach is suggested. It yields improved estimates of vehicle modal motion compared to previous work.