At Flat Rock Assembly plant in Michigan in the United States, Ford is testing out their new, portable 'aeroacoustic wind tunnel'. They are going as far as to say that this portable wind tunnel is the first mobile version of its kind and are waiting on a patent for the portable invention to clear. Now, Ford's engineers can test vehicles at the plants they are built in without having to transport the vehicles to facilities with built-in wind tunnels.
The aeroacoustic wind tunnels will deal with the noise generation of the wind that flows past a car when it is travelling at a speed, or staying stationary. The portable wind tunnel is nestled into two 53-foot shipping containers, which can be lifted onto flatbed trucks and transported. The process takes about six hours, but then the tunnels are ready to go.
In a statement, Bill Gulker, Ford's wind noise core supervisor said: "This project was born from a desire to be the best when it comes to controlling and limiting the cabin noise customers are so sensitive to. And our new mobile wind tunnel saves our engineers time and increases productivity."
According to AutoNews, a standard aerodynamics lab costs around $50 million to make, but this new invention would shave almost half off of that cost.
"Now, we're able to detect even the most subtle noises. We can identify an area in need of improvement, have key people gather, communicate quickly and resolve the issue without delay," said Gulker.
The team of engineers can push out 80 MPH to perfectly simulate the speeds of air that whooshes by on the highway. By doing this, they can minimize the amount of sound that makes it into the cabin during a trip in the car.