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COMFort in the cabin DEMOnstrator

Project description

Putting passengers in the driver’s seat when it comes to comfort

We have come a long way from the Wright brothers' gasoline-powered engine and its twin counter-rotating propellers. Large commercial propeller planes (turboprops) are an important intermediate class of airplane that is better suited to shorter flights than jet aircraft. However, the propellers can induce noise, vibrations and other environmental modifications that reduce passengers' sense of comfort, leading them to choose less efficient travel with higher emissions. Perception is not always equivalent to reality, and in this case perception is critical. The EU-funded ComfDemo project is developing a simulator that will integrate sensor data from a wearable jacket with self-reported levels of comfort via an "in-flight" questionnaire to enhance designs for greater comfort and popularity.


In this proposal, a demonstrator of an aircraft interior is made in which experiments with real humans can be done to understand and optimize air passengers’ comfort perception. The demonstrator will be able to simulate turboprop airplanes, which have additional complexity due to their unique vibro-acoustic properties.

Worldwide, approximately half of air travel is composed of short-range flights, for which turboprop aircraft are demonstrably better suited. They produce less CO2 emissions and are more efficient than jet aircraft. However, cabin noise and vibration is relatively higher in comparison to jet aircraft, lowering the perception of comfort and predisposing passengers to choose jet aircraft.

In this proposal, a demonstrator is built in which passengers experience an aircraft interior in which various parameters influencing comfort can be varied to study improvements to the overall in-flight comfort. An initial comfort model is made based on the literature and then updated based on real flights. In these flights, participants complete questionnaires and wear a jacket, which will record data on sound, vibration, temperature, and pressure. The questionnaires contain questions on the perception of 1) physical ergonomics; 2) vibration; 3) acoustics; 4) spatial-psychological; 5) visual-light; 6) air quality; 7) smell; 8) temperature; and 9) temporal (time) requirements and related comfort sensation. In addition, some environmental conditions and psychophysiological reactions will be monitored. A protocol is made to study passengers in the demonstrator, aiming to solve the comfort issue.

While applicable to all airplanes, the goal is to study noise and vibration of turboprops, which requires installing equipment like speakers and vibration actuators under seats. By studying comfort-influencing factors on passengers, various aircraft interiors can be tested before the real plane is built, and aspects influencing comfort can be optimized.


Net EU contribution
€ 418 036,25
2515 BD 's-Gravenhage (Den Haag)

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Agglomeratie ’s-Gravenhage
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 418 036,25

Participants (3)