Arvanitis, A., Orzechowski, J., Tousignant, T., and Govindswamy, K., "Automobile Powertrain Sound Quality Development Using a Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Approach," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 8(3):1110-1119, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-2336.
Automotive companies are studying to add extra value in their vehicles by enhancing powertrain sound quality. The objective is to create a brand sound that is unique and preferred by their customers since quietness is not always the most desired characteristic, especially for high-performance products.This paper describes the process of developing a brand powertrain sound for a high-performance vehicle using the DFSS methodology. Initially the customer's preferred sound was identified and analyzed. This was achieved by subjective evaluations through voice-of-customer clinics using vehicles of similar specifications. Objective data were acquired during several driving conditions. In order for the design process to be effective, it is very important to understand the relationship between subjective results and physical quantities of sound. Several sound quality metrics were calculated during the data analysis process. A House of Quality (HOQ) matrix was created to characterize this correlation using the new metrics. Multiple sample candidate sounds were designed using sound design and simulation tools. A unique and preferred target sound was identified after an extensive double-elimination round of paired-comparison analysis of candidate sounds using an in-vehicle audio system. Final optimization was executed, with live jury, to demonstrate and verify the new unique and preferred sound.