MECH ENG 4110 - Automotive Vehicle Dynamics & Safety

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

This course will educate students in automotive vehicle dynamics and safety. The course will cover the dynamics of vehicles on the road during normal operation as well as during impact and other crash scenarios. Specific topics include vehicle handling, stability and control, tyre dynamics, suspension design, braking performance, automotive safety, impact dynamics, road safety engineering and safety regulations.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 4110
    Course Automotive Vehicle Dynamics & Safety
    Coordinating Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4.5 hours per week
    Incompatible MECH ENG 4044
    Assumed Knowledge MECH ENG 3028
    Course Description This course will educate students in automotive vehicle dynamics and safety. The course will cover the dynamics of vehicles on the road during normal operation as well as during impact and other crash scenarios. Specific topics include vehicle handling, stability and control, tyre dynamics, suspension design, braking performance, automotive safety, impact dynamics, road safety engineering and safety regulations.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Con Doolan

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On completion of this course students should:

    1 Be familiar with the terminology of road vehicle dynamics, stability and handling.
    2 Be able to analyse the dynamics of road vehicles.
    3 Understand the principles of impact phenomena and the measurement of impacts.
    4 Understand the techniques used to engineer safety in to vehicles.
    5 Understand the effects of impact on the human body.
    6 Understand the regulation of vehicle safety.
    7 Understand automotive safety in the broader context of transportation safety.
    8 Understand the evaluation of vehicle safety using crash data
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-9
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3,5,6,9
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3,5,8,9
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 8
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1,2,5,6,9
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-9
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-9
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Notes that are provided in class and on myUni are ESSENTIAL!

    Recommended Resources

    Milliken, W. and Milliken, D., Race Car Vehicle Dynamics, Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, PA, 1995.

    • Gillespie, T., Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics, Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, PA, 1992.
    • Dixon, J. C., Tires, Suspension and Handling, Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, PA, 1996.
    • Kiencke, U. and Nielsen, L., Automotive Control Systems, Springer, Berlin, 2nd ed., 2005.
    • Huang, M 2002 “Vehicle crash mechanics” CRC Press, SAE international.
    • Holt, DJ 2005, “100 years of vehicle safety developments”, SAE international
    • Evans, L 2004 “Traffic Safety”, Science Serving Society
    • Nahum and Melvin 1993, “Accidental injury: biomechanics and prevention”
    • The CASR library will be available to students to do extra reading and research.
    Online Learning

    This course will make heavy use of the resources placed on myUni by the Instructors. Please make sure you check the course myUni page at least weekly.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Lectures supported by tutorials and workshops in the CATSuite.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    In addition to the lectures and tutorials, you are expected to spend approximately 10-12 hours a week studying for this course.

    Learning Activities Summary

    Vehicle Dynamics

    L1: Review of background theory/ Familiarisation with automotive systems
    L2: Vehicle dynamics axis systems/Vehicle lumped mass models
    L3: Dynamic axle loads
    L4: Power requirements
    L5: Familiarisation with power train components
    L6: Acceleration performance
    L7: Drivelines
    L8: Tyres
    L9: Steady-state vehicle dynamics
    L10: Transient vehicle dynamics
    L11: Familiarisation with suspension components

    Automotive Safety

    L1: Introduction to automotive and traffic safety
    L2: Crash testing and crash safety regulations
    L3/4: Loss of control and active vehicle safety
    L5: Momentum and energy analysis
    L6: Crash pulse characterisation
    L7: Restrained occupant analysis
    L8: Analytical model of a restrained occupant
    L9/10: CASR impact laboratory visit and discussion
    L11/12: Summary/Revision
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assignments 30%

    Written Exam 70%

    Assessment Related Requirements

    Students must achieve a mark greater than 49% to pass.

    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    Submit all assignments to the submission boxes on the 2nd floor of the Engineering South Building.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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