ISTVS Research Grants Program, Announcement of 1st Award

At its Board of Directors meeting in 2014, the ISTVS approved the ISTVS Research Grants Program. It was subsequently announced on the ISTVS website, through a newsletter, and by email in December 2014, along with a call for proposals.

The objectives of the program are to encourage:

  • Interaction among the ISTVS members
  • International collaborations
  • Progress towards ISTVS goals
  • Active terramechanics participation from young ISTVS members

The call for proposals issued December 23, 2014 was soliciting proposals from active ISTVS members applying for student support funding to sponsor activities where ISTVS members will make a contribution in areas such as the following:

  1. Develop and validate ISTVS standards (currently the highest ISTVS priority)
  2. Addressing specific research challenges that hinder the progress in terramechanics and off-road vehicle dynamics. These can include tires, case studies for model development and testing procedures.
  3. Compiling a database of resources (test equipment, facilities,expertise, capabilities and interests) from all universities/agencies represented in ISTVS.
  4. Developing curriculum or course materials for Terramechanics and Off-Road Vehicle Dynamics.
  5. Providing conference travel grants for students or young professionals at underserved universities or countries, or others as benefits ISTVS.
  6. Addressing other topics and ideas of benefit to ISTVS and the field of Terramechanics.

A peer review committee was set up by the ISTVS BOD to evaluate and rank the proposals received. Committee members were chosen to have no conflicts of interest with any of the proposals submitted. In all, six proposals were received of which one was a duplicate. Peer review was performed between April and June 2015 and resulted in significant agreement among the reviewers. Two proposals ranked similarly high and were found eligible for selection. The peer review results were presented at the October 2015 ISTVS Board of Directors meeting, and the Board decided to fund a single proposal, being the one ranking highest in the peer review.

Accordingly, the ISTVS Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the proposed research

Systematic testing and parameterization of soft soil for vehicular applications

submitted by Prof. Schalk Els, University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Prof. Corina Sandu, Virginia Tech, USA, is the first award provided by the ISTVS Research Grants Program. The objectives of the selected research are to:

  • Perform a comprehensive literature survey covering all equipment and techniques used to characterize soft soil
  • Compile a list of resources (test equipment, facilities, expertise, capabilities, and interests) from all universities and agencies for the ISTVS community to have a better understanding of the collective infrastructure and expertise.
  • Compile a soil properties database from literature and make it available to ISTVS members to facilitate future benchmarking studies and to make soil tests procedures and parameterization techniques more uniform.
  • The study will conclude with a proposed ISTVS standard for testing and parameterization of soft soil.

The proposal was ranked highest in the evaluation because it best responded to the objectives of the call and is conceived to address a significant obstacle in terramechanics being the shortcoming in standardization of equipment and experimental procedures to determine terrain properties in the laboratory and in the field, leading to many different variations on equipment design and interpretations of terrain test data obtained.

A first report on progress in the selected research will be provided at the upcoming 8th Americas Conference of the ISTVS in September in Detroit.

Technical Tour Announced — 13th ISTVS European Conference, Rome

Join us in the heart of Italy for the 13th European Conference of the ISTVS. The conference will be held at the Italian National Research Council (C.N.R.), Piazzale Aldo Moro, 7 – Rome. (

» Conference Site
» Registration
» Conference brochure (pdf)

Technical Tour

The conference program includes a technical tour of the experimentation center of the Italian Army, the Multipurpose Center of Experimentation (CEPOLISPE), in Monterotondo. The technical tour will be on the afternoon of October 22.

CEPOLISPE (English translation)

Accompanying Persons Tours

The Gala Dinner will conclude the technical tour back to Rome, where we will join the guests taking part to the leisure program in Rome. Rome offers a huge number of different tours, and the will be booked according to individual needs right at the conference Desk, thanks to an agreement with a local tour operator. Tour options will include: Christian Rome (half day), Imperial Rome (half day), and Historical Appia Antica Tour (full day).

Register now!

Our international conferences form an amazing legacy since our first meeting in 1962 in Turin, Italy — ISTVS is a connected group of professionals from industry, universities, and research institutions who have been meeting over five decades to share research findings. See the full history and order proceedings. 

The 13th European Conference of the ISTVS will provide you a place where you can exchange ideas and information on the current research and technology developments in the field of terramechanics and terrain-machine systems.

Conference Scientific Committee

R. Paoluzzi — IMAMOTER-C.N.R., Italy
P. Kiss — Szent Istvan University, Hungary
J.Y. Wong — Carleton University, Canada
J. Yamakawa — National Defense Academy, Japan
L. Richter — OHB System AG, Germany
S. Shoop — U.S. Army CRREL, USA
L. Kushwaha — University of Saskatchewan, Canada
C. Sandu — Virginia Tech, USA


Rome is the Eternal city. Rome is without doubt one the most beautiful cities in the world; every year millions of visitors come from around the world to admire the treasures and masterpieces of Roman art and architecture.

The many monuments and attractions of Rome cannot be described in a short paragraph, but many websites give information on travel, lodging, visiting, dining, and enjoying Rome.

If possible, plan to stay after the Conference, and join one of the many guided tours conveniently provided by the many tour operators available.

After all, Rome wasn't built in a day — it can’t be seen in one, either!


The mission of the ISTVS is to advance the knowledge in terrain-vehicle systems for improvements in engineering practice and for innovation; in the terrain-vehicle domain, to promote the transfer of advanced knowledge to the user for the benefit of society at large in environmental protection, energy conservation, and sustainable development.

Journal of Terramechanics  ISTVS publishes Journal of Terramechanics: Applications to Terrain-Vehicle Systems. The Journal is the leading international journal serving the multidisciplinary global off-road vehicle and soil-working machinery industries, and related user community and governmental agencies.

The Journal provides a forum for those involved in research, development, design, innovation, testing, application and utilization of off-road vehicles and soil-working machinery. It presents a cross-section of technical papers, review, comments and discussion in the field.

» Read more about the Journal of Terramechanics.

ISTVS published a history of the mobility research including:

  • Land Locomotion Laboratory, Detroit, Michigan
  • Ground vehicle mobility, modeling, and simulation at TACOM-TARDEC * National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, USDA-ARS
  • Waterways Experiment Station Mobility Research
  • U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
  • Keweenaw Research Center – Snow Ice Permafrost Research Establishment
  • Nevada Automotive Test Center

» Read more about the history of terramechanics.