DETROIT – Whether driving through a mountain pass or a concrete canyon today’s on-the-go consumer shouldn’t have to worry about wireless signal strength, and they won’t when they are behind the wheel of the 2011 GMC Yukon Denali.
In an era where cars and trucks double as online data and information portals, General Motors has created a first-of-its-kind gigantic signal-testing facility to keep data, cellular and other signals active in areas where wireless signal strength is limited. The Yukon Denali is one of the first vehicles to benefit from the technology, which looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
GM created the world’s first "vehicle-sized electronically modulated spherical near-field antenna testing system," or ATS, in partnership with transmission tech giant SATIMO SA (Société d’Applications Technologiques de l’Imagerie Micro-Onde SA). Resembling one-half of the St. Louis Gateway Arch, the $750,000 ATS beams signals from 103 discrete probes down to a vehicle on a rotating platform.
The data is used to optimize satellite antenna design and placement on GMC and other GM vehicles.
“There are only two other vehicle antenna validation systems like this anywhere in the world,” said Janalee Graham, who runs ATS "arch" testing for GM. “And ours was the first.
“The ATS system lets us test the antenna systems on the GMC Yukon Denali in virtually every possible real-world condition,” said Graham. “What would take other automakers days of testing can be done in minutes with this system.”
Graham confesses to dragging her family to remote parts of the country to spot test XM satellite radio and OnStar signals on GMC trucks and SUVs.
“They’ve been unwittingly pulled into my antenna obsession on several occasions while traveling.”
What’s her favorite arch?
“I’ve been to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and even the golden arches,” she said, “but GM’s SATIMO ATS arch is my favorite.”
GM’s antenna testing system is one of many behind-the-scenes facilities that make the 2011 GMC Yukon Denali a technology leader. Other technologies available on the 2011 GMC Yukon Denali, such as regenerative braking and active fuel management, are designed to provide efficiency, refinement and comfort without sacrificing professional grade capability.
GMC has built trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry's healthiest brands. Today GMC is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. The new GMC Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks in the market. Innovation and engineering excellence are woven into all GMCs, including the Yukon and Yukon XL and full line of Sierra pickups. Today GMC is the only manufacturer offering three full-size hybrid trucks. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at www.facebook.com/gmc.