Difference Thresholds for the Perception of Sinusoidal Vertical Stimuli of Whole-Body Vibrations in Ranges of Amplitude and Frequency Relevant to Ride Comfort
Minor differences in the vibration characteristics of a vehicle may greatly influence the comfort experienced by the driver. Therefore, such characteristics are significant in the process of vehicle development. In this experimental study, just-noticeable differences were determined for sinusoidal vertical whole-body vibrations at the frequencies 1.3 Hz and 6.0 Hz, and for the vibration amplitudes 0.2 m/s², 0.5 m/s² and 1.2 m/s². The stimulation set up was realised using a test rig constituting a seating position similar to that in a real vehicle environment. A transformed one-up-three-down method, in conjunction with a two-interval forced choice procedure, was used to determine difference thresholds, in accordance with Weber’s Law, for 14 test subjects. Median relative difference thresholds in the range of 6.7% to 11.0% were observed, and were examined for statistical significance (α < 0.05) and practical importance on amplitude and frequency, with respect to this law. The results showed a frequency-dependence at the lowest vibration amplitude and an amplitude-dependence for both frequencies from a statistical point of view. However, the amplitude-dependence at 6.0 Hz was considered as negligible for practical use.