Automotive engineering

Moving Ground Plane propels Ontario Tech’s ACE into new automotive engineering territory

Vehicle tested for dynamic response on moving ground plane (grey/silver belt under vehicle) inside ACE climatic wind tunnel.

There is only one place on Earth where you will find a climatic wind tunnel with improved acoustics, combined with top researchers and top engineers, all under one roof. This place is ASat Ontario University of Technology in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

Since 2011, Ontario Tech’s ACE (or Automotive Center of Excellence) has built a solid reputation as a global solution provider in automotive engineering and beyond, thanks to its ability to innovate in force measurement and aerodynamic simulation. ACE’s central research facility attracts customers from around the world who come to the university to put the products of the future through the ultimate proof-of-concept tests.

Long famous for its climatic wind tunnel that can create repeatable, bespoke weather conditions of every conceivable extreme, ACE has unveiled the latest addition to its collaborative research toolbox: a unique 80-tonne belt Displacement of the ground plane (MPG). ACE’s seven-meter subfloor MGP is a “rolling road” that offers an unprecedented experimental physics simulation of a real vehicle traveling at speeds of up to 250 km/h.

The May 26 unveiling event drew dozens of automotive industry officials and experts, researchers, academics and media. The creation of the MGP was made possible by a $9.5 million investment from FedDev Ontario, with contributions from Magna International, Ontario Tech University and engineering services from Multimatic Inc.

Operation of the mobile ground plane

In wind tunnel testing, it is necessary to reproduce the natural physical forces on a vehicle as exactly as possible. Vehicles sit atop the MGP, locked in place on the moving belt with an intricate restraint system, almost like a super fancy air hockey table. Engineers are then able to introduce a flow of air at varying speeds from the wind tunnel nozzle, to detect the most subtle considerations of the acoustic and vibrational ‘hot spots’ of the object under test.

The data will help engineers adapt new vehicle designs with higher fuel efficiency and performance. The MGP will push new frontiers in vehicle sensor technology research for advanced mobility, autonomous technology and vehicle electrification.

ACE’s tradition of engineering excellence and discovery continues

ACE’s core research center has diversified its scope in its first decade to include architectural, civil, defence/military and human factors, including sports performance, to name a few areas of research beyond the car. Prior to ACE, every dollar, along with members of the country’s talented workforce, left Canada to do this work.

Already equipped with incredible features like the massive dynamometer in the climatic wind tunnel (CWT), multi-axis shaker table and four-column shaker, the addition of MGP to the CWT, plus airflow and vibration improvements. acoustics at CWT, ACE is one of the premier R&D facilities on the planet.


“The future has arrived with the Moving Ground Plane, where ACE helps take science off the shelf and onto the road. is produced over the past 80 years using wind tunnel technology. Incremental upgrades in the future require more realistic underbody and wheel rotation simulation. Our MGP will provide an exponentially more accurate force measurement system. ACE is at the forefront of electrification and the development of autonomous technologies.Reduced power requirements translate directly into lower costs, extended battery ranges and reduced carbon emissions.
John KomarExecutive Director, ACE, Ontario Tech University

“ACE is a core research facility at Ontario Tech University shared by many users, including academic researchers, industry partners, government, community organizations and also senior university students. ACE offers a winning combination of cutting-edge research and talent development opportunities, with a dedicated team of engineers working with industry in an exceptional facility to deliver amazing solutions and discoveries. Research at ACE and Ontario Tech continues on an impressive upward trajectory.
Dr Les JacobsVice President, Research and Innovation, Ontario Tech University

Ontario Tech University senior students strike a ‘fun’ pose in the ACE climate wind tunnel, adjacent to the new moving ground plane (May 26, 2022).

“>Ontario Tech University senior students strike a 'fun' pose in the ACE Climate Wind Tunnel, adjacent to the new moving ground plane (May 26, 2022).