Ergonomics in Car Seat Design


Francisco Rebelo


Ernesto Filgueiras, ElisangelaVilar, Emilia Duarte, Michele Santos


The main objective of this project was creating a competitive and innovative car seat, developed by a consortium of companies and universities. Ergonomics contribution in this project was transversal to all areas and focused on: a study of reference situations, with a view to identifying needs of potential users; studies for anthropometric adjustment of potential users to seat proposals; evaluation of a cushion concept using new raw material, the AbsobCorck, and evaluating interaction with the seat’s first virtual prototypes.


Concept Definition

The contribution of Ergonomics in the seat concept definitions was based in a opinion survey on a sample of 60 taxi drivers, focusing on the negatives and positives aspects of the automobile seats they use.

Seat Functional Requirements

Seat characteristics were optimized using our model (WorkMan - ErgoLab). The seat dimensions and localizations inside the car, has calculated for 90 % of the anthropometrical characteristics of potential users in function of the user reach to the manual and pedal controls and the user visual fields of view to the car exterior.

Seat cushion optimization

A new product was used for the seat cushions, the Absorb Cork (mixed of cork with a low density polyurethane).

We optimized the quantity and localization of Absorb Cork in function of the minimization of the body surface pressures in static and dynamic conditions, using the PEDAR System.

Ergonomics in Car Seat Design 01

Results (Obtained or Expected)

A new car seat prototype was developed with the following characteristics:

-Adequate to 90 % of the potential user (from 5 to 95 anthropometrical percentile).

-A new product (Absorb Cork) was used, with a very good behavior to support body impact forces, compared to the traditional products used in the automobile industry.

-The seat weighs 25% less than existing models on the market.

Finally, this project showed a success experience, related to a collaborative work between Universities and private Companies.