International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems (ISTVS)
The ISTVS is an educational, non-profit, non-political organization with the mission to advance the knowledge in terrain-vehicle (machine) systems for improvements in engineering practice and for innovation, and 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. International conferences of ISTVS are organized every third year, with regional conferences organized in between.
In 2011 we celebrated 50 years since the First International Conference on the Mechanics of Soil-Vehicle Systems was held in Turin, Italy, in 1961! Our society, The International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems (ISTVS) was created one year later, at the request of the General Assembly of this conference. The 12th European Regional Conference of the ISTVS was hosted in Pretoria, South Africa, by the VDG during September 2012. VDG regularly attend ISTVS conferences and colloborate with other ISTVS members. Prof Els is a member of the ISTVS Board of Directors.
Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech)
VDG is working closely with Dr Corina Sandu , director of the Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory (AVDL), as well as Dr Saied Taheri , Director of the Center for Tire Research (CenTiRe) on terramechanics, vehicle dynamics and tyre research.
Technical University of Ilmenau
Prof Valentin Ivanov and his team from the Technical University of Ilmenau are specialists in braking systems. Amongst other they have Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) test rigs to evaluate ABS Braking systems and thus develop new algorithms. VDG is working with TU Ilmenau on the development of ABS algoritms for rough off-road terrains.
Cosin is the developer of the well-known F-Tire model. VDG is working in close cooperation with Cosin to adapt the parameterization process for test data that can be obtained for large tyres as used in the mining, construction and agricultural industries. There is a strong focus on experimental validation of F-Tire and other tyre models.
Gerotek Test Facilities
Gerotek Test Facilities is a world-class proving ground, specifically designed for heavy off-road vehicles. Most of the VDG's field testing is conducted at these facilities as they offer well-maintained repeatable terrains that is invaluable for our research focus.
The University of Pretoria Baja SAE team, TuksBaja, is a group of enthusiastic students, voluntarily making the most of their university career. The team demographic is diverse and consists of members from different Engineering disciplines and range from first years to postgraduates. Students that partake in the competition gain hands-on practical experience in solving real engineering problems. Considering that new members are always joining as old members are leaving, students are forced to constantly learn from each other and work together. The TuksBaja team is now entering its 19th enthralling year of competition. TuksBaja operates under the guardianship of the VDG.
TuksBaja has entered a car for Baja SAE® UTEP that will be held from April 24-27, 2014 in El Paso, Texas.
TuksBaja will also participate with two cars in the South African Baja SAE competion that will be held on 24 and 25 October 2014 at Gerotek, Pretoria, South Africa.
Through our participation in Baja SAE Tennessee in 2013, the team from Virginia Tech (VT Baja) hosted us on their campus. The gave us facilies for assembling and testing the car and assisted us with many other things. They are our favourite Baja team in the world and we hope to see them again in El Paso.