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In this work, ride quality is considered a function of the dynamic interaction between a rider and the vehicle/seat. The seat is coupled to the human, which influences its dynamics. This coupling may introduce situations where contact between the seat and the human is lost, the seat bottoms out, etc., resulting in discomfort and/or personal injury.
This paper presents a design tool in the form of a computer simulation program for the above systems. The tool uses a mechanical model of a human to evaluate ride quality and therefore removes subjectivity from the analysis. The program predicts contact/no-contact situations and automatically reformulates the equations of motion to represent the actual system topology. Thus, the program can predict the bottoming out of a seat or a human leaving (losing contact with) the seat. Since the program uses the geometric model of the system to make decisions about contact/no-contact, the geometry of the seat and its effect on ride comfort can be predicted.
ride quality, mechanical system simulation, vehicle dynamics
Associate professor, The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA