There is so much research, testing, and evaluating that goes into the design of a vehicle, that we often don't recognize or appreciate all the work involved. If something stands out to us as a consumer, it's by and large not for a good reason. We can easily recognize when there's something that's oddly placed or uncomfortable in a vehicle, but rarely do we think "man, they really nailed this dial placement." Cabin noise is another great example of this, and is often a key complaint of a vehicle. If it's noisy in the cabin when we're riding around town or cruising on the highway it's an instant nuisance, but when it's peaceful and quiet we don't spend a whole lot of brain power contemplating why. This week, we get to take a look behind the scenes as Ford pulls the wraps off its new patent-pending technology.

wind tunnel

Billed as the world's first aeroacoustic mobile wind tunnel, Ford has taken two 53-foot shipping containers and fastened them on a level tarmac, and then outfitted them with 6 feet wide ducted fans capable of producing 80-mph winds. They're able to simulate the steady highway-stream winds needed for testing, and can help detect sources of unwanted noise in early production vehicles, allowing for quicker solutions. The mobile wind tunnel also costs only a fraction of what Ford's full-sized aerodynamics labs do, which run a cool $50 million each with all the advanced instrumentation required.

wind tunnel

The entire tunnel is mobile, and can be broken down within a day, shipped to another Ford assembly via truck, and reassembled at the new site within hours. This also makes the testing process more productive by reducing test cycles from weeks to hours, and shortens the time engineers have to spend on the road in the vehicles. It also frees up the main wind tunnel at Ford's Michigan plant to focus on future models.

Ford's wind tunnel joins the company's growing fleet of mobile testing facilities.

If you're looking for a quiet ride, here are some serene interiors we've been in lately:

Nissan Altima


Find Local Discounts on the Nissan Altima

Ford Explorer


Find Local Discounts on the Ford Explorer