Vehicle Engineering

Exponent’s Vehicle Engineering Practice assists clients in addressing multi-faceted issues related to accident causation, failure analysis, and vehicle design.  Capabilities include consulting and complex component and full-scale product testing. Our consultants have technical expertise across a broad spectrum of the transportation industry including motor vehicles (e.g., passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and commercial trucks); off-road recreational vehicles and equipment; as well as marine, rail, and mining equipment. Our consultants have firsthand knowledge of the vehicle development processes for critical automotive systems and are knowledgeable in global regulatory requirements, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), and other consumer metrics. Our team conducts in-depth investigations of a range of accidents ranging from single vehicle accidents to catastrophic accidents and develops findings that are rooted in the fundamentals of scientific and engineering principles. 

With offices in multiple locations Exponent has gained a worldwide reputation for our ability to mobilize resources expeditiously and efficiently, integrate a broad array of technical disciplines, and quickly provide valuable engineering insight that is objective and withstands rigorous scrutiny. Exponent’s Vehicle Engineering Practice professionals routinely collaborate with counterparts in other Exponent disciplines, including Biomechanical Engineering, Human Factors, and Statistics & Data Sciences, allowing us to provide our clients with comprehensive assistance.

Our clients rely on us to determine what happened in an accident and why it happened. In many cases, they also want us to discover what could have been done to reduce the severity of the accident or to reduce injuries to those involved. Exponent performs thorough analyses to develop a sequential "history" of the accident that is consistent with physical evidence. Our analytical procedure consists of a series of systematic steps that includes reviewing documents, identifying technical issues, documenting the accident site, and conducting vehicle and component inspections. Our analyses also include conducting information searches, analyzing the dynamic behavior of vehicles, testing vehicles or components, and communicating technical results in a clear, timely, and effective manner. Whether the objective is design analysis, component testing, or accident reconstruction, our knowledge of vehicle systems and accident reconstruction principles and our experience from conducting full-scale tests add insight and proficiency to every project.

A considerable asset of the Vehicle Engineering Practice is the Test and Engineering Center (TEC) in Phoenix, Arizona—a highly capable test facility that conducts quasi-static and dynamic evaluations including unique crash, sled, and component testing. Through this testing capability, we are able to analyze the distinctive and complex kinematics and dynamics of vehicles and occupants in various types of maneuvers and collisions.

The technical team at the TEC is uniquely qualified to provide the high level of support required to execute and document tests with state-of-the-art instrumentation, data acquisition, and photographic techniques. This testing can be used to demonstrate the engineering and scientific principles that govern the behavior of occupants and vehicle systems in a variety of different crash modes, such as high and low-speed vehicle-to-vehicle collisions, fixed object impacts, and rollovers. The Vehicle Engineering Practice also assists manufacturers, designers, and consultants in the evaluation and development of occupant protection and vehicle safety systems.

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What We Do: Vehicle Engineering

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