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Advanced Structures & Materials

Annual Plan

Technical Approaches and Analysis of Vehicle Conceptual Design for Mobility and Autonomous Mobility

Project Team

Principal Investigator

Vladimir Vantsevich, University of Alabama at Birmingham Lee Moradi, University of Alabama at Birmingham


David Gorsich, Michael Letherwood, Brian Butrico, Oleg Sapunkov, U.S. Army GVSC


Jesse Paldan & Eva Dennis (staff), UAB


Michael McCullough, BAE


Siyaun Zhang (postdoc), Jordan Whitson, UAB

Project Summary

Project begins mid-2020.

Vehicle terrain mobility characteristics are provided by powertrain and chassis subsystems and realized in the form of force interactions between the vehicle locomotion and terrain. These forces can improve or worsen vehicle mobility, or even get the vehicle completely immobilized. Approaches to modeling mobility characteristics and engineering approaches to design vehicle subsystems became strategically important since they pre-determine a vehicle’s success or its failure before the vehicle touches the ground. The modeling and simulation of the vehicle-terrain interactions and the designing of vehicles are interconnected and influence each other. The real technical challenge is how and to what degree modeling and simulation methods and vehicle design methods should influence and complement each other and, thus, lead to advanced vehicle designs that are able to demonstrate high mobility in extreme severe terrain, environmental, and operational conditions.

Previous work performed by the PI involving off-road vehicle mobility design and provided prognoses on mobility design in certain countries. One of the conclusions suggested the following future research directions for the development of methodological fundamentals of vehicle mobility design:

  1. New methodological approaches to study terrain vehicle dynamics, i.e., operational properties of off-road ground vehicles, in general, and movability of combat vehicles, in particular;
  2. New methodological approaches to computational simulations of vehicles and subsystems that are based on terrain vehicle dynamics studies;
  3. New systems approaches to design intelligent complex systems with application to vehicles.

The overall purpose of this project is formulated as follows:

  1. Expand the research work with the emphasis on
  • Studying the above-listed future research directions for the development of methodological fundamentals of vehicle mobility design
  • Identifying interconnections and complementariness between the research directions
  • Extending the scope of research work to manned and autonomous ground vehicles
  1. Compare and correlate the Western and the Eastern approaches to vehicle mobility design with the emphasis formulated in the above item 1
  2. Research an advanced methodological foundation for vehicle conceptual design and vehicle major subsystem design for mobility
  3. Develop a NATO STANREC on requirements for the modeling and simulation of autonomous military ground vehicles in collaboration with NATO AVT-341 “Mobility Assessment Methods and Tools for Autonomous Military Ground Systems”.