Database enables automotive aerodynamic benchmarking

BMW i8 in wind tunnel

A vehicle aerodynamics database has been made available from HORIBA MIRA to enable manufacturers to make direct performance comparisons.

HORIBA MIRA has launched a dedicated aerodynamics database providing wind tunnel measurements on passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

The ‘Aero-Data’ website features data from over eight years of independent testing in HORIBA MIRA’s Full Scale Wind Tunnel, covering more than 50 vehicles. The tests on these vehicles were conducted independently to provide HORIBA MIRA with robust cross-industry data on vehicle aerodynamics.  This data is the first of its kind to be become publicly accessible.

In addition to recording standard forces and moments, HORIBA MIRA has accurately measured the frontal area of each vehicle, rather than using a nominal reference area; this enables the accurate calculation of each vehicle’s drag coefficient – a key measure of aerodynamic efficiency.

The data can be harnessed to develop an understanding of current and future performance trends, to quantify competitiveness when new vehicles are launched into global markets, as well as ensuring design targets are achievable.

Traditionally, aerodynamic data from different vehicle manufacturers has not been directly comparable, due to differences in wind tunnel design and variations in testing methods, which can lead to noticeably different results.

In contrast, by testing all the vehicles in the database in the same wind tunnel facility and using consistent procedures, direct and accurate comparisons can be made between vehicles.  This ensures vehicle manufacturers have the data needed to research new vehicle programmes.

Academic researchers and students can also benefit from online access to quantitative data when producing academic theses focusing on automotive design.

Richard Adams, Business Development Manager at HORIBA MIRA said: “Historically manufacturers have had to undertake their own extensive benchmarking programmes to gain a clear understanding of how their vehicles compare in the marketplace. Similarly, academic researchers are very often reliant on data from a variety of sources, which isn’t always easy to compare. With the introduction of HORIBA MIRA’s Aero-Data site, manufacturers, researchers and fleet operators now have direct online access to a reliable source of aerodynamic data.”

The performance data is available in two report formats. Those seeking summary data for an understanding of general trends can access “Front Page” reports for an introductory price of £99+VAT and those looking for in-depth analysis including measurements at various yaw angles can access full vehicle reports for an introductory price of £499 + VAT each.

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