Imagine walking outside in Oshawa on a warm summer’s day and within seconds, stepping into a full-fledged winter storm. This is the experience UOIT’s Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) offers at its testing chamber, tucked in the corner of the university’s campus.
The 16,300-sqaure metres facility is considered ‘one of it’s kind’. It cost nearly $100 million to design, and was created as a partnership with General Motors of Canada, Partners for the Advancement of CollaborativeEngineering Education (PACE), the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.
The chamber offers testing to several automotive vehicles, and has catered to some big names including Porsche. ACE has also used its chambers to test buses and bicycles, according to UOIT’S website.
Chamber conditions can mimic any type of weather including dessert heat, snowstorms, blizzards, and hurricanes, with winds as fast as 240 kilometres per hour. For a rate that ranges anywhere from $325 to $1,600 an hour, ACE will rent its facility to companies looking to test their products.
ACE has been featured on the Discovery channel, National Geographic and has set the scene for television commercials including Hyundai.
Ben Deboers is a first-year Automotive Engineering student at UOIT. He says that he was able to experience the stimulating chamber first-hand.
“They put us in there and created a rainstorm,” says Deboers. He says he was impressed with how real the experience felt.
“It was cool just to see the whole system. Once they were done, they turned the lights on to cool us off,” he says. Deboer says that he was able to test the facility during his orientation but hasn’t had access to it since.
ACE has received financial support from numerous organizations across Canada. The Government of Canada put $14 million in funding towards the program.