I. Cvok, M. Hrgetić, M. Hoić, J. Deur, D. Hrovat, H. E. Tseng

Analytical and Experimental Evaluation of Various Active Suspension Alternatives for Superior Ride Comfort and Utilization of Autonomous Vehicles

ASME Journal of Autonomous Vehicles and Systems, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 011004/1-21, 2020.
Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) give the driver opportunity to engage in productive or pleasure related activities, which will increase AV’s utility and value. It is anticipated that many AVs will be equipped with active suspension extended with road disturbance preview capability, in order to provide the necessary superior ride comfort resulting in almost steady work or play platform. This paper deals with assessing the benefits of introducing various active suspensions and related LQR controls in terms of improving the work/leisure ability. The study relies on high-performance shaker rig-based tests of a group of 44 drivers involved in reading/writing, drawing, and subjective ride comfort rating tasks. The test results indicate that there is a threshold of root-mean-square vertical acceleration, below which the task execution performance is similar to that corresponding to standstill conditions. For the given, relatively harsh road disturbance profile, only the fully active suspension with road preview control can suppress the vertical acceleration below the above critical superior comfort threshold. However, when adding an active seat suspension, the range of chassis suspension types for superior ride comfort is substantially extended, and can include semi-active suspension, and even passive suspension in some extreme cases that can, however, lead to excessive relative motion between the seat and vehicle floor. The design requirements gained through simulation analysis, and extended with cost and packaging requirements related to passenger car applications, have guided design of two active seat suspension concepts applicable to the shaker rig and production vehicles.