Autonomous Driving

NVH Solutions for Autonomous Driving

Self-driving vehicles can dramatically change the mode of transportation we are used to right now — but only if passengers feel safe and comfortable. Vibracoustic is researching and developing new solutions to manage NVH in autonomous light and commercial vehicles, likely a critical factor for the acceptance and mass adoption of self-driving vehicles.

Drivers 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. We are researching and developing new solutions to manage NVH in autonomous vehicles, likely a critical factor for the acceptance and mass adoption of self-driving vehicles.

Our work is focused on further improving the isolation within the cabin and minimizing 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.

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 is 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.

Frank Mueller, CEO of Vibracoustic AG

The two main causes of NVH issues are excitations from the road surface and from the vehicle’s drive train and auxiliaries. For 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.

For excitations coming from the road, switchable air springs are perfectly suitable for the transition to autonomous vehicles. These digitally controlled units continuously monitor loads to keep the vehicle level. 

Three-Chamber Air Spring Systems

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 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.

Another complex issue faced by vehicle manufacturers is motion sickness. Studies show that motion sickness is caused by a sustained conflict between vestibular and visual sensory inputs. Therefore, watching a film or reading a book during a car journey can quickly cause or intensify a sense of nausea. Understanding these challenges, Vibracoustic has developed seat dampers that are able to minimize the vibration of screens positioned on the rear of vehicle seats.

Seat Dampers

We are dedicated to anticipating and solving the NVH challenges of tomorrow. Whether it’s as a partner early in the development cycle or supplying industry-leading NVH products, we are well positioned to help our automotive customers through this significant transition.

Dr. Joerg Boecking, CTO at Vibracoustic AG

While it may still be some time before we witness the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles, our engineers with their deep understanding of complete vehicle systems are already working with vehicle manufacturers to solve the NVH challenges of tomorrow.