Honda opens new US wind tunnel

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Honda has opened a new US$124m wind tunnel facility in Ohio, USA, to service its automotive and motorsport projects. The new Honda Automotive Laboratories of Ohio (HALO) facility at the independent Transportation Research Center Inc (TRC) in Central Ohio, is claimed to be the world’s most advanced wind tunnel, with three separate testing functions – aerodynamics, aeroacoustics and racing – in one location.

Honda says it created the multifunctional HALO facility to reinforce its commitment to developing fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive vehicles. The wind tunnel uses a unique, interchangeable, modular ground plane system capable of aerodynamic vehicle testing of production vehicles and race machines.

With a five-belt rolling-road system designed for production vehicle development and a second single wide-belt system for testing high-performance sports cars and purpose-built race vehicles, the tunnel can generate wind speeds of more than 300km/h.

Furthermore, the wind tunnel can quickly accommodate a sophisticated acoustic test system for an aeroacoustics testing mode that utilizes a powerful system of acoustic arrays, made up of microphones and cameras, to collect real-time data and precise measurements.

As Honda continues to move toward its electrified future, noise reduction is becoming an even more important element in vehicle design. Without engine and exhaust sounds, wind noise will be more noticeable inside the cabin of an electric vehicle.

“Honda’s product development capabilities will advance to new heights thanks to this investment in our Ohio research operations,” said Jim Keller, executive vice president of Honda Development and Manufacturing of America (HDMA) and leader of the company’s North American Auto Development Center. “With this new facility, Honda is not simply investing in an advanced technology facility but in the future of the Honda engineers and other researchers who will work here.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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