For updates regarding COVID-19, please visit the University of Michigan's information page here

Dynamics of Heavy Duty Trucks

Learn and apply the foremost research on heavy trucks

Whether you are new to truck systems or have years of experience, this four-day course will help you understand their special dynamic behavior by merging the fundamentals of vehicle dynamics and the details of truck components and properties. Learn from leading University of Michigan researchers and industry experts. Stay engaged through computer simulations, case studies, and real-world examples.

Key Information

This course is not currently scheduled. Please sign up to be notified of future offerings.



Time Commitment

4 days


Remote Delivery

Continuing Education Units (CEU)


The Only Course of its Kind

Program Overview

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

Learning Objectives

  • 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

Who Should Attend

In addition to engineers involved in vehicle dynamics, this course is intended for people 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 

New engineers who could benefit from learning about truck mechanics will find it especially useful.

Instructional Team

Michelle Barnes
Michelle Barnes
Owner, GIS Linking The Layers
Steve Karamihas
Steve Karamihas
Senior Research Specialist, U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)
David LeBlanc, PhD
David LeBlanc, PhD
Head, Engineering Systems Group, U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)
Richard Radlinski
Richard Radlinski
Michael Sayers, PhD
Michael Sayers, PhD
Head of Engineering, Mechanical Simulation Corporation
Chris Winkler
Chris Winkler
Research Scientist Emeritus, U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)

Post Program

Digital Badge

Earn a digital badge for your resume or professional profile:

A preview of what a digital badge for a course might look it. A blue, badge-shaped graphic with the Nexus logo and an icon corresponding to the field of study.


A certificate in your course of study will be awarded upon successful completion of this program.

A preview of what a course certificate of completion might look like.

TruckSim® Software

Participants will receive a 60-day trial of TruckSim®, a software tool for simulating and analyzing the dynamic behavior of medium to heavy trucks, buses, and articulated vehicles. You will have ample opportunity to explore the software before, during, and after the course.


Traveling to Ann Arbor?

Information on air transportation, hotels, meal restrictions, what to wear, and more.

View Info

“Learning about off-tracking, roll over, suspensions, steering mechanisms and active safety/ADAS...[these concepts] are of use to my everyday work.”

- Dynamics of Heavy Duty Trucks Participant