GMC Yukon Interior Design Quiets The World Outside
The GMC Yukon’s tranquil interior is the result of hard work performed by GM noise engineers like Michell Shippy.
As a mother of two young children, General Motors engineer Michell Shippy understands how therapeutic a quiet drive on the road can be. She took her personal experience into account when helping design the interior cabin of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL full-size SUVs, which offer a level of interior quietness that help make driving pleasurable.
We spoke with Michell to learn more about the enhancements engineers made to advance quietness in the Yukon.
Q: Can you tell us about your role with GM, and this particular project?
Michell Shippy: I am one of two wind noise development engineers working on the full-size truck team. As such, I’m responsible for identifying and eliminating wind noise in all of our SUVs and pick-up trucks.
Prior to building the Yukon, our noise team analyzed mathematical data to find potential sources of environmental noise. Part of the discovery process required we test vehicles on the open road and inside of a wind tunnel, using a giant fan that produces up to 75 tons of air pressure. In both cases, our team listened attentively for noise entering the vehicle’s cabin.
Q: What were some of the goals pertaining to noise levels in the GMC Yukon?
MS: The driving factor for my team’s efforts was the desire to produce something very refined and great for drivers. In cooperation with the design team, our noise development team painstakingly analyzed every aspect of the Yukon to ensure its ride quietness. These aspects include – but are not limited to – the vehicles’ body shape and size, exterior mirror shapes and various acoustic elements. We left no stone unturned.
Q: Were there any challenges along the way?
A: The biggest challenge involved balancing cost and production of the vehicle itself. Careful planning allowed us to produce a quiet vehicle without incurring unnecessary costs. By being engaged very early in the program, we were able to execute changes that enabled us to improve the body seals before any body tooling was manufactured. This established the foundation for ride quietness in the Yukon. Our team was able to avoid making late changes to the vehicle, which provided more time to spend on tweaking and refining the details.
Q: How do you see a quiet interior environment evolving or expanding on future vehicles?
MS: The Yukon customer expects a quiet and refined vehicle interior. They want to drive in peace, without any unnecessary distractions – and that’s what they’re provided with in the new model. A quiet cabin does nothing but enhance the driving experience. As in-car technologies, like Bluetooth and in-car WiFi continue to expand, I see a broadening of this concept.