Honda unveils “HALO” wind tunnel to expand automotive development

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MARYSVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — One of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers, located in central Ohio, has opened the doors on a new facility that could take automotive development to new heights.

For the first time, Honda unveiled its new “HALO” wind tunnel Monday at its Transportation Research Center in Marysville.

“This facility has the ability to do aerodynamic testing; basically, improving the range and fuel economy of our vehicles,” said Mike Unger, the HALO wind tunnel lead.

It’s one of the most advanced wind tunnels of its kind anywhere in the world, and for Honda, the state-of-the-art piece of equipment will help usher in a new era of automotive development in the state.

“We also have the ability to improve wind noise,” Unger said. “We can do it more efficiently than ever before with our acoustic systems here.”

The $124 million facility is the latest commitment by Honda to the Buckeye state.

Over the past 40 years, the car manufacturer has invested more than $14 billion in automotive advancements in Ohio.

“This is an example, in Honda, of what happens when you bring great companies who are interested in innovation,” Ohio Lt. Governor John Husted said. “They continue to give back and create value and opportunities for generations to come.”

With wind speeds reaching more than 190 miles per hour during testing, the multifunctional facility will be capable of testing both everyday road cars, as well as purpose-built race vehicles.

It’s the latest tool for Honda engineers to bring development capabilities to new heights, but it will also support aerodynamic research around the country.

“We have a consortium, so people that want to get together and share mutually agreeable research will be done here,” Unger said. “As well as, in the future, we will open it up to the entire aerodynamic and aero-acoustic community.”

As automotive transportation moves toward its electric future, Honda says noise reduction is an even more important element in vehicle design.

“There’s no more exhaust sound, there’s no more engine sound, so that means wind noise becomes that much more apparent. So, this facility was built with that in mind,” Unger said.

But for Ohio’s future, state leaders say Honda’s HALO will serve as a catalyst for future STEM experts down the road.

“All of the things that we have in society that we continue to invest, to improve, to invest in the quality of life and preparedness for the future, it’s all happening right here today,” Husted said. “As time goes by, as technology changes, people’s skills need to change along with it, and in Ohio we will help you do that.”

Honda said some preliminary testing has already taken place, but they expect the wind tunnel to be fully operational within the next six months.

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