Multisensory Contributions to Perceived Quality and Authenticity of Materials for the Vehicle Interior

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-0494

  • 2017-03-28
A variety of senses is involved in customer perception of the vehicle interior. Beside the visual appearance, touch feel, sounds when touching surfaces, perception of surface temperature and smell provide essential contributions to a holistic, multisensory experience. When touching the steering wheel or seat materials, the haptic activity generates sounds, which provide essential information about the material quality. Psycho-acoustic parameters like loudness, roughness and sharpness communicate specific material features to the user. Furthermore, many customers prove the material by knocking on the surface with fingers or the whole hand. Measurement of the acoustic sensitivity of materials can be operationalized for benchmarking and optimization of trim. The perceived temperature of metallic surfaces depends on thickness of galvanized layers. For objective evaluation, a measurement device has been developed. The minimum thickness of metallic layers has been determined to ensure an authentic cool touch sensation. Even the pure visual appearance of surfaces communicates haptic features, which shall correlate with perceptual experience and expectations of the customer. The grain of hard trim panels can look hard and uncomfortable, or provide a pleasant soft appearance. This has been identified to be a main contributor to premium perceived quality. Basic approaches of subjective, multisensory assessments are described as well as correlating material parameters. On base of test results, a concept for high quality appearance of the vehicle interior is derived.
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