Driver and passengers have a heightened perception of NVH issues when the control of steering, acceleration and braking is transferred to the vehicle in partly or fully autonomous vehicles. Vibracoustic, an industry leader in automotive NVH solutions is researching and developing new solutions to manage NVH in autonomous vehicles – likely a critical factor to acceptance and mass adoption of self-driving vehicles. Much of Vibracoustic’s work is focused on further improving the isolation within the cabin and minimize the effects of unwanted noise and vibrations from electric, hybrid and internal combustion engine (ICE) systems.
“Autonomy will completely change the way consumers use vehicles, freeing up the driver for a range of other activities such as reading, working, watching a movie or maybe even sleeping,” explained Dr. Jörg Böcking, CTO at Vibracoustic. “However, once the driver becomes a passenger without the need to control the vehicle or focus on the road, their perception of noise, vibration and harshness are significantly enhanced. It is important to understand that these vehicles will only be accepted if the passengers feel comfortable and safe during the journey – an area in which vibration control makes a decisive contribution.”
The two main causes of NVH issues are excitations from the road surface and from the vehicle’s drivetrain and auxiliaries. For these internal excitations, Vibracoustic has a range of advanced mounts and bushings that mitigate vibrations transmitted through the axles and body to the seats and steering system. By minimizing the effect of these inputs and isolating vibrations from the passengers, their comfort is increased significantly. From conventional rubber bushings to complex, hydraulic, switchable or even active mounting solutions, Vibracoustic offers one of the broadest product portfolios in the industry.
For excitations coming from the road, Vibracoustic’s switchable air springs are perfectly suitable for the transition to autonomous vehicles. These digitally controlled units continuously monitor loads to keep the vehicle level. They can provide different degrees of stiffness, allowing quick transition between a firm chassis for a confident and safe driving behavior, and a more comfortable setup for long motorway trips. This technology is ideally suited to the transition from semi-autonomous to fully autonomous light vehicles, enabling the best of both worlds. As the driver switches their attention away from actively driving the vehicle, the air springs adjust from a driver-focused setting to one that is more relaxed and comfortable, providing an improved passenger experience.
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