From mopeds to automated vehicles, including trucks, trains, fixed wing and rotary aircraft, boats, ships and recreational products, our work for the transportation industry is extensive.  Exponent’s multidisciplinary staff provides design analysis, manufacturing process reviews, product and real-world testing, accident, injury and failure investigative services, operational, performance, health and environmental evaluations for large and small manufacturers, suppliers, operators, insurers, attorneys and individuals. We have gained a worldwide reputation for our ability to mobilize resources expeditiously and efficiently, integrate a broad array of technical disciplines, and provide valuable insight that is objective and withstands rigorous scrutiny. 

Exponent has extensive experience with the following:

Motor Vehicles

Exponent’s staff is well respected and well-known for our analysis, research and testing of vehicles that traverse the country carrying people and/or cargo on two, three or four (or more) wheels.  Exponent works with manufacturers and suppliers to assess new or updated designs, evaluate manufacturing performance, address warranty claims, and evaluate product, health or environmental regulatory compliance. 

We perform state-of-the-art research and test protocol development at our Test and Engineering Center (TEC) in Phoenix. TEC is the location of unique single and multi-vehicle performance and crash tests.  We conduct sophisticated analyses of vehicle components, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), software/hardware, restraints and airbags to evaluate performance, crashworthiness and occupant injury mechanisms. We provide support and analysis on complex transportation-related accidents around the world and have provided regulatory support and appeared on behalf of clients in front of regulatory bodies such as NHTSA, NTSB, CPSC, and EPA.  We also engage in sophisticated health and environmental studies that address human or ecological risks from exposures such as indoor air, radiation, or chemicals that are by-products of the automotive manufacturing environment.

Automated and Advanced Vehicles

Solving many of the biggest challenges of automated vehicles and ADAS, including the adapting the underlying technologies and managing interactions with human drivers and operators, will require collaboration across innovative, multi-disciplinary teams. Recognizing this growing industry need, Exponent assists with a technical offering that includes vehicle engineering and testing, regulatory analysis, human factors, data analytics, risk and threat assessment, failure analysis, accident investigation, safety critical control systems, sensors, software, artificially intelligence and machine learning, cybersecurity, and electronic power and communications systems.
Our engineers and scientists have extensive research and project experience in these domains, specifically with automated vehicles and ADAS technologies, a wide array of sensor technologies, drive-by-wire systems, and the handling and storing of sensitive and confidential data.

Aviation and Aerospace

Our experience in private and commercial aviation encompasses the entire life cycle of the product from conception to usage and retirement from service. Many of our consultants hold their private pilot’s license or are multi-engine rated instructors.  Throughout our long history, Exponent has worked on many of the nation’s commercial aviation accidents and assisted with development of new technologies to support improvement in the commercial or private aviation market.  We work with airport authorities, airlines, manufacturers, suppliers, insurers, counsel and regulatory agencies such as the FAA and the NTSB.

We address sophisticated technical issues related to design or performance of equipment that carries man or machine and operates at the edge of the atmosphere or beyond.   Back on earth, we work with manufacturers to assess environmental, health or engineering risk related to the materials, chemicals, software/hardware and equipment in their designs. We also evaluate vendor specifications, quality control and human factors issues.


According to the United Nation's International Maritime Organization (IMO), maritime shipping supports about 90 percent of global trade. With shortened design and manufacturing cycles, increased demand for goods around the world, and expansion in the cruising, boating, and personal water craft market, the issues that the maritime industry faces in delivery are enormous.

Exponent has consulted with this industry for over 50 years.  Our work has primarily been developed addressing failures of equipment, processes or performance of the crew.   From this we have gained a reputation of being the “go-to firm” when shipbuilders or operators encounter issues in design, production or startup of vessels.   We have worked on projects as large as supertanker groundings to mechanical failures or fires on-board yachts or sailboats. Our team has provided support to cruise lines when food or airborne outbreaks have occurred to determine the source as well as addressed personal injury claims when passengers get hurt aboard ship. As with all other industries we service, our consultants provide support for regulations evaluations and requirements from federal, state, or international regulatory bodies.


Railroads continue to be an important means of transporting imported and exported goods, chemicals and coal across the US. The rail industry also carries millions of passengers each day through cross-country and regional networks, and inter-city subway and trolley lines.  Much of the infrastructure on these lines was built in the early 1900s and challenges remain to keeping the performance of these lines up to standard.

Exponent's experience with the rail industry has been more than just analyzing the cause of an accident or assessing environmental damage or health affects after a spill.  We have assisted manufacturers to assess the quality of their product as it relates to performance and quality for their customers and their employees.  We have looked at crashworthiness issues for both rail cars and locomotives, and we have researched rail fractures and provided advice on how to improve reliability.   We also have worked with operators to evaluate human performance issues especially related to operator distraction and attention.

For more information on the services we provide the Transportation Industry, please visit our Practice and Industries page.


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