Two white cars crashing in test.

Transport Safety and Simulation

About the group

The Vehicle Dynamics and Safety (VDAS) Group sits within the Systems theme at the Institute for Future Transport and Cities has a research heritage going back more than 20 years. Projects have primarily focussed on the automotive sector with increasing activity in aerospace. In the past this has involved looking at transferable technology where advanced automotive design and development methods could be adapted and applied in aerospace.

Early work in the group focussed on research into the use of multi-body systems simulation for vehicle ride and handling. A major part of this was understanding the behaviour of the tyre and the methods needed to test and model tyres. Research in tyre testing and modelling continues and the modelling of tyres on severe off-road terrain is being investigated in a current NATO project. The move towards automated driving has led to the set-up of a collaborative research centre with Horiba Mira. The Centre for Connected Autonomous Automotive Research (CCAAR).

Meet the team


Name Title Email
Dr. Christophe Bastien Theme Lead, Associate Professor
Dr. Jesper Christensen Assistant Professor
Dr. Huw Davies Assistant Professor


Over the past 5 years the group has been involved in a number of projects including:

  • Agile Tyre Mobility for Severe Terrain Environments. This NATO funded project involves international partner universities and considers vehicle and tyre modelling for off-road vehicles.
  • Aquaplaning Research. In this project we are investigating our own patented device to prevent aquaplaning. The work also involves the sensing of wet road surfaces and loss of friction. 
  • iTEAM. In this project, we are investigating Artificial Intelligence based approaches for the accurate and timely estimation of tyre forces and tyre-road friction. Furthermore, we are investigating and testing novel ADAS by utilising the multiple actuators and sensors available on a modern vehicle. 
  • TIC-IT. In this project, we are investigating methods for automating and accelerating testing of Connected & Automated Vehicles, in particular the detection of safety-critical corner cases. Furthermore, we are developing the digital twin of TIC-IT facility TIC-IT will be built on HORIBA MIRA’s Proving Ground and will create a purpose built realistic, safe environment for testing CAVs up to the limit of their operability; a critical activity to ensure consumer confidence in the technologies.
  • Simusafe. In this project, we are investigating the use of motorcycle simulators and Virtual Reality for creating immersive environments that will allow efficient training and behavioural changes of road users.
  • RoaD (Pedestrian Trauma Modelling). In this project we are investigating the modelling of human traumatology in transport accidents. The research is sponsored by the Road Safety Trust, with the support of West Midlands Police, Coroners and the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW). This project will impact transport design by considering age, gender and anthropometry. This project also researches the relationship between standard Post Mortem (PM) and CT PM (Post Mortem using scanning) to reduce the stress of families, improve court proceedings and speeding up coronial process.


  • Wang Y., Blundell M.V., Wood G., Bastien C. Tyre Model Development using Co-simulation Technique for Helicopter Ground Operation Journal of Multi-body Dynamics, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part K, 221(K1), 41-62, 2014. DOI: 10.1243/14644193JMBD51
  • S. Kanarachos, M. Blundell. Minimum vehicle slip path planning for automated driving using a direct element method. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part D Journal of Automobile Engineering; DOI:10.1177/0954407015608723, Oct 2015.
  • Bastien, C, Blundell, M & Neal-Sturgess, C 2017, 'A Study Into The Kinematic Response For Unbelted Human Occupants During Emergency Braking' International Journal of Crashworthiness, pp. (in press). DOI: 10.1080/13588265.2017.1301080
    A study into the kinematic response for unbelted human occupants during emergency braking
  • Fawzal, R. Cirstea, K. Gyftakis, T. Woolmer, M. Dickison and M. Blundell, "Fan Performance Analysis for Rotor Cooling of Axial Flux Permanent Magnet Machines", IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 3295-3304, 2017. DOI: 10.1109/TIA.2017.2675986 (Impact Factor 1.901, Q1).
  • G. Smith and M. Blundell. A new efficient free-rolling tyre-testing procedure for the parameterisation of vehicle dynamics tyre models. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part D Journal of Automobile Engineering, 21st Dec 2016, DOI:  (Impact Factor 1.253, Q1)
  • Acosta, M., Kanarachos, S. & Fitzpatrick, M.E. (20180 Virtual Tyre Force Sensors: An Overview of Tyre Model-based and Tyre Model-less State Estimation Techniques. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part D Journal of Automobile Engineering, Sept 2017, DOI: 10.1177/0954407017728198.
  • Manuel Acosta, Stratis Kanarachos, Mike Blundell. Road Friction Virtual Sensing: A Review of Estimation Techniques with Emphasis on Low Excitation Approaches. Applied Sciences, Oct 2017.
  • Fawzal A., R. Cirstea, K. Gyftakis, T. Woolmer, M. Dickison and M. Blundell, “Air Inlet/Outlet Arrangement for Rotor Cooling Application of Axial Flux PM Machines”, Applied Thermal Engineering (under review).
  • C. Bastien, R. Wellings, B. Burnett (2018)“ An Evidence Based Method to Calculate Pedestrian Crossing Speeds in Vehicle Collisions”, Journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, AAP-D-17-01323
  • Bromfield, M.A. & Belberov, A., (2016) 'The flying classroom - a cost effective integrated approach to learning and teaching flight dynamics', European Journal of Engineering Education, Published online December 28th, 2016. (Q1, SJR 0.865, in 2015 Engineering/Education)
  • Bromfield, M.A., Walton, T., Wright, D. & Rusby, M., (2016) ' Commercial off The Shelf (COTS) Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) Solution For Business Aviation' CAP 1394, Civil Aviation Publications, United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, Gatwick, UK.
  • Gratton, G.B., Hoff, R.I., Bromfield, M.A., and Williams, S. (2014) 'Evaluating a Set of Stall Recovery Actions for Single Engine Light Aeroplanes'. Aeronautical Journal, May 2014.  (Q2, SJR 0.43, in 2015 Aerospace Engineering)
  • Bastien, C., Christensen J., Peres, J. A Minimum Area Discrepancy Method for Force Displacement Response Correlation. Journal of Biomechanics (under review).
  • Christensen J., Wilson A., Basiten C. Hybrid Topology Optimisation for Crashworthiness. International Journal of Impact Engineering (under review).
  • J.Christensen, M. Sehmi, C. Bastien, S. Kanarachos, Review of Topology Optimisation Refinement Processes for Sheet Metal Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry, Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, January 2018.
  • Elsayed M.,  Christensen J., Bastien C., Jones S. Investigation of Baffle Configuration Effect on the Performance of Exhaust Mufflers, Case studies in Thermal Engineering , September 2017.
  • Acosta, M., Kanarachos, S. & Fitzpatrick, M.E. 2018, "Robust Virtual Sensing for Vehicle Agile Manoeuvring: A Tyre-Model-Less Approach", IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, vol. 67, no. 3, pp. 1894-1908.
  • Christopoulos, S.G., Kanarachos, S. & Chroneos, A. 2018, "Learning Driver Braking Behavior Using Smartphones, Neural Networks and the Sliding Correlation Coefficient: Road Anomaly Case Study", IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, .
  • Antoniadis, I.A., Kanarachos, S.A., Gryllias, K. & Sapountzakis, I.E. 2018, "KDamping: A stiffness based vibration absorption concept", JVC/Journal of Vibration and Control, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 588-606.
  • Stratis Kanarachos, Stavros-Richard G. Christopoulos, Alexander Chroneos, Smartphones as an integrated platform for monitoring driver behaviour: The role of sensor fusion and connectivity, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 2018
  • Kanarachos, S., Dizqah, A.M., Chrysakis, G. & Fitzpatrick, M.E. 2018, "Optimal design of a quadratic parameter varying vehicle suspension system using contrast-based Fruit Fly Optimisation", Applied Soft Computing Journal, vol. 62, pp. 463-477.
  • Kanarachos, S., Christopoulos, S.-.G., Chroneos, A. & Fitzpatrick, M.E. 2017, "Detecting anomalies in time series data via a deep learning algorithm combining wavelets, neural networks and Hilbert transform", Expert Systems with Applications, vol. 85, pp. 292-304.
  • Kanarachos, S., Savitski, D., Lagaros, N. & Fitzpatrick, M.E. 2017, "Automotive magnetorheological dampers: modelling and parameter identification using contrast-based fruit fly optimisation", Soft Computing, , pp. 1-19.
  • Kanarachos, S., Griffin, J. & Fitzpatrick, M.E. 2017, "Efficient truss optimization using the contrast-based fruit fly optimization algorithm", Computers and Structures, vol. 182, pp. 137-148.
  • Acosta, M. & Kanarachos, S. 2017, "Tire lateral force estimation and grip potential identification using Neural Networks, Extended Kalman Filter, and Recursive Least Squares", Neural Computing and Applications, , pp. 1-21.
  • Kanarachos, S. & Kanarachos, A. 2015, "Intelligent road adaptive suspension system design using an experts' based hybrid genetic algorithm", Expert Systems with Applications, vol. 42, no. 21, pp. 8232-8242.
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Coventry City of Culture 2021