By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
A few days ahead of Valentine’s Day, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology was feeling the love from the provincial government.
Minister of Economic Development and Growth Steven Del Duca was at the Oshawa campus on Feb. 12 to announce a $4 million investment to enhance UOIT’s Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE)
The funding will allow the university to install a moving ground plane, a giant belt that acts as a road moving under a vehicle.
The equipment simulates the aerodynamic forces against moving vehicles and measures the physical characteristics in real-world conditions.
There are only 14 of its kind in the world.
The moving ground plane will be incorporated into the existing wind tunnel facilities at the ACE, one of the largest in the world.
It can simulate wind speeds up to 300 km/h, temperatures from -40 to 60 degrees, and has the ability to replicate different solar arrays and storm conditions.
According to university officials, incorporating the moving ground plane will assist in developing new technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
UOIT will chip in $500,000 for the equipment, while automotive supplier Magna International is contributing $1 million.
Multimatic, a leader in the field of moving ground planes, will provide engineers to help develop the technology at UOIT.
“The funding for the moving ground plane confirms ACE as the world’s leading automotive research and testing facility,” Dr. Steven Murphy, incoming UOIT president, says.
Murphy noted this investment will create further learning opportunities for students and will generate economic growth in the region.
To Del Duca, partnerships such as this are “essential” to establishing the province as a leader in developing and commercializing “transformative vehicle technologies.”
“It will help keep Ontario’s auto sector at the cutting-edge of product innovation and competitiveness,” Del Duca states.