Defining In-Vehicle Location and Functional Attributes of a Button-Style Automatic Transmission Electronic Shifter using DFSS Methodology with Customer Clinic Approach

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-1131

Published:
  • 2017-03-28
Abstract:
The implementation of electronic shifters (e-shifter) for automatic transmissions in vehicles has created many new opportunities for the customer facing transmission interface and in-vehicle packaging. E-shifters have become popular in recent years as their smaller physical size leads to packaging advantages, they provide lower mass of the automatic transmission shift system, they are easier to install into the vehicle during assembly and act as an abler for autonomous driving. A button-style e-shifter has the ability to create a unique customer interface to the automatic transmission, as it is very different from the conventional column lever or linear console shifter. In addition to this, a button-style e-shifter can free the center console of valuable package space for other customer-facing functions such as storage bins and Human-Machine Interface controllers. This paper will investigate customer preferences around the layout, in-vehicle placement and functional attributes of a button-style e-shifter. The Design for Six Sigma methodology was employed to act as the framework for this study. The team defined relevant customer requirements and preferences which pertain to the transmission shifter interface. Functional attributes and regulatory compliance criteria were identified. The team then designed a series of customer clinics to gather feedback and preferences on e-shifter placement, function and interface attributes. These studies included visibility in vehicle, customer reach, gear layout of the shifter and tactile feel of the customer interface. When applicable, a customer loss function (using customer based specifications) was created to define customer preferred reach zones and limits. The results of this study were written into a design guideline to be followed by both styling and engineering when incorporating an e-shifter into a vehicle’s interior environment.
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