• Dynamics of Heavy Duty Trucks

  • You'd Have to Drive A Million Miles to
    Learn What We'll Teach You in 4 Days

    Cost 10% Discount Digital Brochure
    4 Day training program
    When you register five or more. Restrictions apply. Detailed information in a shareable format. download
    Whether you are relatively new to truck dynamics or an old hand, this course is your chance to learn about vital truck systems, how they work and interact, and how to avoid costly mistakes that take your products off the road.

    Our U-M and industry experts cover critical topics ranging from fundamentals and timeless lessons on truck design to the latest research and technology, put together in a way that you can understand and apply to your specific situation. Youll learn how to diagnose multiple vehicle dynamics issues.

    Information-packed lectures combined with hands-on simulations, case studies, and real world examples will keep you focused from start to finish. Bring your questions for our experts!

  • Schedule

    Fundamentals of Heavy Duty Trucks

    • Categories of performance
    • Subsystems of the vehicle
    • Terminology, sign conventions, symbols
    • Overview of vehicle dynamics theory
    • Contrasts between motor car and heavy truck

    Truck Components: Physics & Math Models

    • Mechanics of the heavy truck tire
    • Behavior of heavy truck suspensions
    • Kinematics and mechanics of steering systems
    • Heavy vehicle brake system basics
    • Thermal capacity
    • Electronic control systems

    Heavy Vehicle System Modeling

    • Simplifying assumptions
    • Unit truck and articulated vehicle models
    • Vehicle instrumentation and data sampling

    Dynamic Behavior of Heavy Trucks

    • Ride quality
    • Off-tracking
    • Steady state and transient response to steering
    • The rollover process with the influence of slosh and shifting loads
    • Multi-Unit Vehicles 
    • Functional vehicle control
    • Active safety systems
    • Naturalistic driving studies
    • Interaction with highway geometric features
    • Connected vehicles
    • Braking response
    • Brake force distribution
    • Downhill braking
    • Stopping distance
  • Instructors

    Michelle Barnes

    Michelle Barnes

    Senior Research Engineer, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan

    Michelle Barnes is a senior research engineer in UMTRI's CMISST initiative. She has conducted research and analysis in the areas of highway geometry, road roughness, crash data, and the transportation infrastructure as it relates to the dynamics of heavy vehicles and experimental vehicle systems. These activities require the collection and analysis of spatial databases, primarily through the use of GIS and vehicle simulation tools. She has also been the project manager of two large, federally-sponsored field-operational-test projects.

    Prior to her appointment at UMTRI, Ms. Barnes served as supervisor for traffic safety and engineering at the Washtenaw County Road Commission and as a senior transportation engineer for the Michigan Council of Governments. Responsibilities in these positions included the design and coordination of traffic control devices. She also routinely reviewed road design and site plans for geometric and safety concerns, and served as a technical advisor for defense counsel and as an expert witness for civil lawsuits.

    Ms. Barnes earned master's degrees in public administration and geographic information systems from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor's degree in civil engineering with a transportation concentration from the University of Michigan.

    Paul S. Fancher

    Paul S. Fancher

    Senior Research Scientist Emeritus, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan

    Mr. Paul Fancher is a senior research scientist emeritus in UMTRI's Vehicle Systems and Control Group. His research interests include the measurement and simulation of vehicle dynamics; modeling, simulation, analysis, and experimental procedures for studying the properties of driver-vehicle-highway systems; and using advanced technology and control concepts to create intelligent systems for aiding drivers in controlling the motions of cars and trucks.

    Mr. Fancher received the National Award for the Advancement of Motor Vehicle Research and Development, established by the U.S. Congress, in recognition of, and appreciation for, his significant contributions in expanding the knowledge and understanding of motor vehicle safety crash avoidance research in 1997. He is a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers and holds a B.S. in engineering mechanics, an M.S.E. in instrumentation, and a professional degree in instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan.

    Tom Gillespie

    Thomas D. Gillespie

    Research Professor Emeritus, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan

    Dr. Gillespie's professional career has been primarily concerned with advanced engineering and research in the automotive and highway areas. From the beginning, his career spanned the breadth of these areas, ranging from applied research at the Pennsylvania State University in pavement friction test methods, to responsibilities as a Project Officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers directing engineering and service tests on new military construction equipment. At Ford, he served as a group leader in development testing of new heavy truck products, as well as development of analytical methods and computer programs for predicting truck braking, handling, and ride performance. His expertise in the area of road roughness and vehicle dynamic interactions led to consultation with the World Bank directing the international experiment that developed the worldwide standard used for measurement of road roughness.

    In 1987-88, Dr. Gillespie served on the White House staff as a Senior Policy Analyst for Dr. Willliam R. Graham, Science Advisor to President Reagan. He subsequently served as a conslutant to Dr. Allan Bromley, Science Advisor to President Bush, chairing the Interagency Task Force to develop a National Action Plan on Advanced Superconductivity Research and Development.

    On returning to the University, Dr. Gillespie served for ten years as Director of the Great Lakes Center for Truck and Transit Research. His teaching included automotive engineering, vehicle dynamics, and vehicle design offered to university students and industry engineers. He retired from the University in 2006. He now works part time at his software company, Mechanical Simulation Corporation, consults and teaches vehicle dynamics to industry groups.

    Steve Karamihas

    Steven M. Karamihas

    Senior Research Specialist, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan

    Mr. Karamihas has been heavily involved in the measurement and interpretation of longitudinal road profiles for 20 years. He conducted a two-year research study of the effect of road roughness on automotive ride quality, user perception of pavement performance, and truck dynamic wheel loads. In this study, he was instrumental in developing an algorithm for estimating automotive ride comfort from measured longitudinal road profile, which became the latest version of the Ride Number.

    Mr. Karamihas has also conducted multiple studies of the factors that affect accuracy and repeatability of high-speed longitudinal road profile measurement. This has involved systematic study of the equipment, the manner in which it is operated, and special problems posed by the pavement itself, often culminating in recommendations that appear in AASHTO standards. This has also involved the conduct and execution of several profiler comparison experiments, including the largest ever conducted; application of many signal analysis methods to road profiles, including customization of cross correlation to profile comparison; and development of profiler performance criteria, including sole authorship of the Critical Profiler Accuracy Requirments report.

    Mr. Karamihas has also collaborated with other UMTRI researchers to design specialized profiling equipment, including the FHWA Benchmark Profiler, a custom profiler for study of height sensor footprint, and simultaneous measurement of profile and ride quality. He has also expended considerable effort disseminating research findings on the measurement and interpretation of longitudinal road profile. Together with Mike Sayers, he developed the Little Book of Profiling and RoadRuf (specialized software for analyzing road profiles) for a pilot National Highway Institute (NHI)) short course. Specialized versions of the course have been delivered several times for State and Federal working groups. Mr. Karamihas has also instructed at several offerings of the ProVAL course.

    Dave LeBlanc

    Dave LeBlanc

    Head, Engineering Systems Group, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan

    Dr. David J. LeBlanc has been an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute since 1999. Dr. LeBlanc's work focuses on the automatic and human control of motor vehicles, particularly the design and evaluation of driver assistance systems. He is currently the program manager of the Road Departure Crash Warning System Field Operational Test, which is a project operated under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. DOT under the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative. He is the author of several publications in the area of vehicle dynamics and automotive crash-warning systems.

    Before joining UMTRI, Dr. LeBlanc worked with the Ford-GM Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership for two years, and previously was a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Michigan. He also has industry experience with Hughes Aircraft. He possesses a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, and master's and bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

    Richard Radlinski

    Richard Radlinski

    Richard Radlinski is an engineering consultant specializing in vehicle braking systems.  He spent 25 years at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) researching the braking characteristics of passenger cars and heavy commercial vehicles, with over 50 published papers and research reports.  He retired as the Chief of the Vehicle Stability and Control Division at NHTSAs Vehicle Research & Test Center in East Liberty, Ohio. 

    In 1993 he started his own company Radlinski & Associates, Inc. that specialized in testing braking systems on commercial vehicles for vehicle and brake component manufactures as well as government agencies.  The company also developed specialized brake testing equipment including automated brake and ABS test systems that are currently used by most North American truck and bus OEMs in their manufacturing plants.  He sold the company in 2003 and now works as an independent consultant.  He has been one of our team of instructors for over 20 years.

    Radlinski has Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland.

    Michael Sayers

    Michael Sayers 

    Head of Engineering, Mechanical Simulation Corporation

    Dr. Sayers worked as a senior research scientist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. In his time there, Sayers conducted research projects that resulted in written standards for using existing equipment to measure road roughness in a manner that that was repeatable, reproducible, and stable with time. He created a standard roughness scale that came to be known as the "International Roughness Index" (IRI) in 1986. IRI is now used as a standard road condition indicator in the United States and other countries.

    In 2012, he was awarded the Technical Achievement Award of the Road Profile Users' Group (RPUG) for his work in developing standard methods for measuring and evaluating road toughness.

    He co-founded Mechanical Simulation Corporation (in 1996) to provide vehicle simulation software based on his programs. The company's primary products – CarSim, TruckSim and BikeSim – are based on Dr. Sayers' concepts.

    Dr. Sayers earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T., and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has authored or co-authored over 80 papers and technical reports.

    Christopher B. WinklerChristopher B. Winkler

    Research Scientist Emeritus, Transportation Research Institute,
    University of Michigan

    Chris Winkler has been involved in the management and conduct of research concerned with the measurement, analysis, and prediction of the dynamic behavior of motor vehicles and their components for forty years. He has been responsible for the design and construction of a variety of laboratory and field devices for measuring the properties of vehicles and their components. He has been responsible for full-scale vehicle testing programs at the test track and in the field. He has participated in the development and use of sophisticated computer programs simulating dynamic vehicle behavior. Mr. Winkler has served in capacities ranging from Project Director to Principal Investigator to Staff Engineer. He has been involved in all aspects of research projects from initial conception and preparation of proposals through to the writing of final technical reports. More recently, he designed and led the fabrication of a very high precision road profiler.

    Winkler has lectured on the subject of heavy vehicle dynamics at the University of Michigan, Cambridge University (UK), the Open University (UK), University of Queensland (Australia), Tsinghua University (Beijing, PRC), and Xian Highway Institute (Xian, PRC), and privately at the request of Navistar Corp., PACAR Corp., Freightliner Corp., Eaton Corp., Saab-Scania AB (Sweden), Transport Canada, the University of Saskatchewan, and CSIR/WITS Univ. South Africa.

    Winkler has served as a special engineering consultant to the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, to the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Navy, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, and the transportation agencies of the provinces of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, Canada. He has been an advisor to agencies dealing with road transport regulation in New Zealand and the Netherlands. He has consulted for a number of companies involved in the manufacture of commercial trucks and their components and in commercial trucking itself.

    Winkler has servered on various committees of both the Society of Automotive Engineers and the International Standards Organization that develop standard engineering practices and test methods. He served as chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics Standards Committee of SAE from 2003 to 2007,  and was a US delegate to the parallel committee of the ISO from 1993 through 2006, serving as head of the US delegation on many occasions. He was a founding trustee of the International Forum for Road Transport Technology and served as the chairman of that organization's Fourth International Symposium on Heavy Vehicle Weights and Dimensions.
  • Learning Objectives

    By attending this program participants will be able to apply and transfer the following knowledge:

    • Gain an understanding of the fundamental principles that determine the handling, braking and ride performance of pneumatic-tired vehicles
    • Examine the special mechanical and geometric properties that determine the unique performance properties of commercial trucks
    • Understand the influences of the mechanical properties of subsystems and components on the dynamic performance of the total vehicle system
    • Gain exposure to methods and tools available to analyze truck behavior

    Program Fee

    $2,525* Covers the 4 Day Program

    Fee includes tuition, instructional materials, continental breakfast, lunch and a coffee break each day. Fee is payable in advance.* Upon registration, you will receive email confirmation including directions to the program site and recommended lodging.

    * Fee subject to change. Pricing not valid for onsite or custom programs.
    Please review our Professional Programs Payment and Cancellation Policy.

    Program Prerequisites

    Participants should have a Bachelor's degree in engineering or the equivalent background. Some experience or training in analysis or measurement of braking, steering or ride behavior of cars or trucks is helpful. A familiarity with the means for simulating system behavior using computers is not necessary, but is beneficial.

    Who Should Attend

    In addition to engineers involved in vehicle dynamics, this course is intended for persons engaged in activities such as:

    • Truck and truck component design
    • Truck equipment selection
    • Fleet safety operations and equipment specification
    • Accident prevention
    • Development of truck safety standards
    • Highway/truck interaction
    • Measuring vehicle behavior
    • Highway safety standards and regulations
    • People who attended this program 10 or more years ago
    • New engineers who could benefit from learning about truck mechnics


    A non-credit certificate of professional achievement in Dynamics of Heavy Trucks will be awarded upon successful completion of this program.

U-M Transportation Research Institute

U-M Transportation Research Institute

Much of the information in the Dynamics of Heavy Duty Trucks course is based on research from the U-M Transportation Research Institute. Since 1965, UMTRI has been the leader in research, testing, and innovation of heavy vehicles and heavy vehicle safety. Current heavy truck research areas include cab ergonomics, crash causation and countermeasure analysis, heavy vehicle rollover, rollover protection for hazardous materials tank trucks, and stability control systems.


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