Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to utility navigation Skip to footer

Automotive Seat Comfort Testing

Automotive comfort begins and ends with a passenger’s experience. At Woodbridge, that comfort is defined through a combination of static and dynamic test factors. Our environmentally-controlled labs conduct industry-standard material analysis and comfort testing on foam pads, interior components, and fully-trimmed seats in or out of the vehicle for OEM and Tier 1 clients.

We work closely with customers to provide a complete comfort test service, utilizing 30 years of polyurethane seating expertise to deliver testing and design solutions that enhance the end-user comfort experience.



Foam & Seat

Hardness Distribution
Initial Softness
Subjective Analysis

Lateral Containment

Dynamic Fatigue

Foam & Seat

Body Pressure Distribution
Jounce Durability

Custom Testing Microclimate
3D Laser Scanning
In-Vehicle Robot

Automotive seat tests:

Testing in this lab is performed under standard laboratory temperature and humidity conditions of 23 +/- 2 °C and 50% +/- 5% RH. The main focus is to run comfort tests on large second-row seats without removing them from the vehicle, as many second-row seats depend on the vehicle structure for support. Once the vehicle is positioned in the room and normalizes to the environment, the robot arm reaches through the vehicle’s door opening and collects comfort data by compressing the seat with specialized indenters. A six-axis load cell connected to the robot end effector collects the real-time load deflection data along each axis. The robot can perform overall hardness, initial softness, and hardness distribution tests on the seat cushion, back, headrest, armrest, or any other interior component. Additionally, the robot can perform these tests outside the vehicle on a standalone seat that is attached to support fixture and ingress/egress durability tests.

The body pressure imaging system measures and displays pressure readings generated by the human body interacting with a seat surface. The distribution of pressure is represented by a spectrum of colors and the pressure map itself is comprised of 2,304 capacitive pressure imaging sensors incorporated into a flexible mat. The low hysteresis loss of the pressure sensors allows the mat to be utilized for static testing in the lab or for longer-term dynamic measurements of a driver or passenger while the vehicle is in operation. Pressure mapping is used to target the proper distribution of pressure in an automotive seat and to eliminate high pressure responses in the regions of the seat where the body is sensitive to these types of conditions.

We use SAE H-Point Manikin (HPM) to measure the H-Point of a seat, verify its actual location versus design intent, and establish the origin for the seat comfort test points. An “H-Point” is a point on the mannequin located at the pivot center of the back pan and cushion pan assemblies, on the lateral centerline of the device. An “Actual H-Point” is an H-point measured on physical properties of seats, with the HPM mannequin using the procedures defined in SAE J826.

The SgRP (Seating Reference Point) is a specific and unique H-point established by the manufacturer as the design seat reference point for a given designated seating position. The SgRP is established early in the vehicle design process and the most critical SgRP is the one defined for the driver. It is used in positioning many other design tools, defining a number of key vehicle dimensions (e.g. leg room, shoulder room, etc.), and is referenced in several national and international standards and regulations.

Through the use of a FARO arm with an HD laser, precise 3D polygonal models of full seats, seat components, or vehicle components can be generated. With the accompanying PolyWorks software, the in-vehicle coordinate systems of the manufacturer can be recreated and objects such as seats, foam, and seat frames can be aligned with the manufacturer’s vehicle coordinate system to give a precise representation of the location of seat components within the vehicle.The arm can also take a variety of physical measurements (H-points, locations, distances, widths, angles) on, or relative to, the seats and export them as CAD files. These files can then be used by manufacturers for design and benchmarking purposes

We provide full-service, competitive benchmarking for vehicle interiors, seats, and other components. Besides testing and evaluation—which includes any of the test services described on this site—we can also rent targeted vehicles and acquire parts if destructive testing is required.

Hardness testing on seats provides objective firmness measurements that are used in conjunction with subjective ride opinions to evaluate and target seat comfort. Typical tests include overall hardness, hardness distribution, and initial softness. These measurements are also useful for benchmarking and comparing competitive OEM seats.

Complete seat systems, components, and foam materials, are tested for long-term durability. A seat durability test is conducted by repeatedly compressing and uncompressing the material or seat system to a specific force or displacement target. The test item is evaluated by comparing pre- and post-test measurements, which provides an indication of its expected performance over the life cycle of the product. Our ingress/egress test uses a robot to evaluate the seats ability to resist wear from an occupant getting in and out of it over its expected lifetime. The combination of a six-axis robot arm, FT-NET force/torque sensor, and Occuform dummy enables the optimal reproduction of realistic and practical ingress and egress movements that simulate the complex entrance and exit path of the occupant and the force that they apply to specific areas of the seat during this process.

Vibrational transmissibility determines the vibrational characteristics of a foam/seating product and relates to the amount of vibration transmitted to the occupant during vehicle operation. Transmissibility is the ratio of the output at the seat surface to the input at the seat base during a frequency sweep over time. Damping is a logarithmic decrement that determines the damping performance of a foam product or seating system. A lower damping value indicates a more resilient response, which is illustrated by the longer time it takes for the dropped mass to stabilize. Creep measures how far a mass will sink into a seat system or foam material over time. This relates to long-term (a 4-hour trip) driving comfort, and the seat’s ability to keep the occupant in a stable position, as sinking too deep into the seat over time can lead to comfort issues.

This test focuses on the environmental conditions or microclimate, which exists at the interface between the occupant and seat surface. A variety of custom test devices are used to measure the airflow and cooling performance of a ventilated seat. These include volumetric airflow of the seat surface, occupied thermocouple measurements, and thermal imaging.

A universal test frame is a multifunctional tester that can evaluate the static properties of a material, sample, or component in compression or tension. For foam cushioning, it is used to measure standard properties such as hardness, resiliency, tensile strength, elongation, and test resistance. From a component level, it can measure functional properties related to part assembly, ultimate component failure forces, or bonding strength.