Course Description

University of California, Davis
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Vehicle Stability - EME 134
2018 Fall, Lecture: MWF 11:00-11:50 AM in Olson 250
CRN: 43393

The world contains a variety of vehicles that transport people and goods for commerce, recreation, and exploration. Vehicles are designed to move through various environments (land, air, and sea) in efficient, safe, optimal, and performant manners. The motion of a vehicle is governed by the mechanism in which forces are applied to the vehicle by the environment. The interaction forces are a function of the vehicle's design and the travel medium. To understand these phenomena engineers often turn to mathematical models capable of predicting the observed motion. Two very common concerns for vehicle designers are 1) whether a vehicle will ever become unstable and 2) whether it is reasonably easy to control given the design choices.

In this class, you will explore the dynamics of a number of different types of vehicles by developing and exercising simple mathematical models. You will also connect this mathematical exploration to interactive experimental demonstrations of many of the vehicles. Both will provide insight about the design of vehicles for good performance and handling. When complete, you will be able to model vehicles, analyze their behavior, identify common design issues, and make decisions about design with respect to vehicle dynamics.

Learning Objectives

After completing the course students will be able to:

  • create simple mathematical models of a variety of vehicles
  • identify when vehicles are stable/unstable
  • identify parameters that affect stability
  • describe typical modes of motion for various vehicles
  • apply simple automatic control to stabilize vehicles

Catalog Description

EME 134—Vehicle Stability (4) Lecture—3 hour(s); Laboratory—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): ENG 102 C- or better. Restricted to Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering/Materials Science Engineering majors. Analytical and experimental studies of the dynamics, stability and control of vehicles such as cars, trailers, airplanes, motorcycles, bicycles and rail cars. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2017 Fall Quarter.


  • ENG 102 (C- or better)


Jason K. Moore
2095 Bainer Hall

Ehsan Arasteh

Time and Location

The lecture/discussion meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:00-11:50 in Olson Hall 250.

If you have any conflicts with the schedule, especially for the exams, you must tell me in the first week of class (emergencies will be the only exception).

Office Hours

Jason's Office Hours
Bainer 2095
Wednesday 3:10pm-4:00pm
Friday 1:10pm-2:00pm

Ehsan's Office Hours
Bainer 2071
Thursdays 5:10pm-6:00pm

If it is impossible to make office hours, schedule an appointment with Jason by checking his work calendar and select a free time between 8:00 AM and 6:30 PM Monday-Friday. Send him an email requesting an appointment at the suggested meeting times at least a day in advance. You can also email Ehsan and request a meeting.

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Please visit the Academic Integrity web page from UC Davis Office of Student Judicial Affairs to review the campus' policy on academic responsibility and integrity and read the UC Davis code of academic conduct.

Feel free to discuss homework assignments and work on them together, but each student must turn in a unique solution. Keep in mind that actually doing all of the homework yourself is critical for learning and passing the course.


We will use the following book as the official and required textbook:

Vehicle Dynamics, Stability, and Control, Dean Karnopp, 2nd Edition, CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4665-6085-7 [Book Information]

The first edition of the book, titled "Vehicle Stability" is likely sufficient but the problem sets will not necessarily match. You will find an errata for the latest book on Canvas "Files". We will also provide you with free online resources and other supplementary materials.

Assignments & Grades

Grades will be available in the grade book periodically throughout the course along with class statistics. Check the website on a regular basis to gauge your performance. Keep in mind that 15% is deducted per business day late on all assignments.

Homework 30%
Midterm 30%
Final 40%
Weekly homework will be assigned which will be due before class the following week. Unique solutions are required from each student.
You will have to complete a take-home midterm exam. You may not work with others on this exam.
You will have to complete a two-hour in-class exam.


We will make use of Canvas for the course. Log in to with your Kerberos ID and passphrase then select EME 134 001 FQ 2018.

We will be using several features in canvas:

This will be my primary communication avenue to you. These announcements will be forwarded automatically to your UCD email address. You are expected to read these either through your email program or on the Canvas website.
Any electronic assignments will be distributed and collected here.
Your grades and basic stats on your relative performance will be available as the course goes along.
Copyrighted and private files, documents, and other resources will be available here for download. The rest will be available for download on this website.



Personal electronic correspondence from the instructors will be made to your UCD email address. It is your responsibility to check this regularly.

Electronic announcements from the instructors to the whole class will be made through Canvas. By default, Canvas will automatically sends the announcement to your UCD email address. You can change your Canvas settings to opt out, send it to a different email, or as an SMS. You are responsible for reading the announcements made via canvas.