Further demonstrating its tenacity to achieve greatness in innovation and sustainability, Ford Motor Company recently showed Jonathon Buckley of Autoblog.com the answer to one question: what happens when a Ford engineer isn't able to transport a vehicle to a wind tunnel for testing? The answer - to bring the tunnel to the car - is simple when spoken, but seemingly more difficult in execution. But as representatives from the Blue Oval shared with Buckley and his team, this idea will help pave the way for the future of automakers, and is only one of many that are on the horizon for Ford.
While other automakers may struggle with the same dilemma of wind tunnel testing, it is Ford that has cleverly circumvented the issue at hand. Contrary to what some may believe, the wind tunnels aren't necessarily utilized to decrease wind resistance and, subsequently, gain speed. Instead, their purpose is to discover unpleasant wind noise that drivers may experience while on the road. To emulate this situation without schlepping test cars around, Ford's mobile tool features massive fans housed in shipping containers - immensely decreasing the amount of labor and time required for engineers to travel cross-country.
As Mark Wiles, a wind noise engineer at Ford, says, "We can put one of those right on a standard flatbed and haul it across the country within hours."
Adding to the efficiency of Ford's portable system are its binaural mannequin head microphones, which provide a three-dimensional audio picture that pinpoints where noise radiates from, allowing engineers to hone in on and analyze the recorded sound. Ford takes the concept of wearable technology to the next level with its wearables lab, where Ford engineers have begun exploring the potential applications of wearables for drivers. One item on their radar, currently, is the smartwatch and its capabilities to impact driver experience and embed into the actual vehicle.
The future is bright for Ford and its innovations. Learn more by stopping at Sound Ford in Seattle, Washington today.