The effect of seating recline on sleep quality, comfort and pressure distribution in moving autonomous vehicles

The revolution of technologically advanced vehicles with a high level of automation involves a profound transformation. The focus of most research in this area has been on the use of travel time for different use cases. Sleeping is one of the most time-consuming activities in everyone's life; therefore, this has been described as one of the most desired use cases for fully automated vehicles. In order to identify the best conditions to allow sleep and improve sleep quality while travelling in such vehicles, two studies were performed: a sleep study and a pressure distribution study, the results of which are included in this document. The focus of both studies was on two seat positions: reclined (60° backrest recline) and flat (87° backrest recline). In the sleep study, forty participants had the opportunity to sleep during a 90-min drive in order to evaluate long-term comfort and subjective sleep quantity and quality. Although both positions resulted in generally similar results in terms of sleep and comfort, some significant differences were identified. Karolinska Sleepiness Scale results showed that sleepiness increased in the reclined position, whereas it decreased in the flat position. Moreover, the self-reported parameter Wake After Sleep Onset was higher in the reclined position. In the pressure distribution study, it was possible to identify specific seat prototype limitations indicating inadequate support, which was related to discomfort detected during the sleep study. As a conclusion, the comparison between the reclined and flat positions showed indications that, in moving fully automated vehicles, the flat seat position is the most comfortable and effective for sleeping.


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  • Accession Number: 01856256
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2022 9:27AM