Areas of expertise

  • Air Transport Safety & Investigation
  • Aircraft Design
  • Test and Evaluation
  • Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
  • Engines, Powertrains & Alternative Fuels
  • Lightweighting & Crashworthiness
  • Aerospace Materials
  • Off-Road Vehicle Engineering
  • On-Road Vehicle Dynamics
  • Soil Resources
  • Space Systems
  • Low Carbon Technology
  • Vehicle Engineering & Mobility


Prof. James Brighton has over 22 years' experience relating to off road vehicle dynamics, terra-mechanics, tyre and track system modelling, advanced vehicle instrumentation and lightweight material structures and his current clients span the globe. He is responsible for the Cranfield Off Road Dynamics Facility, which he designed and managed the delivery of together with its unique suite of research machines in collaboration with his colleagues within his previous Centre for Automotive Technology. The facility won the Henry Ford Technical achievement award in 2007. His team is able to offer a wide range of vehicle related technical solutions from fundamental research through product design and prototype vehicle sub-system manufacture, supply, evaluation and testing across a wide range of industry sectors.

Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (FIAgrE)

EngD Cranfield University

BEng (Hons) Silsoe College

ND Analytical Rycotewood College.

Current activities

Prof. James Brighton manages the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre and specialises in applied research, design, development and postgraduate teaching in relation to advanced vehicle technology for off road and race circuit environments together with the development of novel light-weight materials and associated nanotechnology.

The applications of this research are broad and include automobiles, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), motorcycles, competition vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, low carbon vehicles (LCVs), agricultural machinery, industrial machinery, military vehicles, space vehicles, marine vessels, air and landing craft. The Centre also manages and delivers the IMechE, RAeS and IET accredited MSc in Advanced Motorsport Engineering, the MSc in Automotive Engineering, MSc in Automotive Mechatronics and allied short courses, for which Prof Brighton teaches Motorsport Vehicle Dynamics. He was involved in the EU funded research projects ECOshell, InnoREX, Sirena, and FutureSKY, and the Innovate funded CarBIO, HumanDRIVE and AidCAV programs, and has just concluded the EPSRC funded CogSHIFT program with Jaguar Land Rover. He is currently working on the ATi funded LLGF program, the Innovate funded CargoPOD program and is actively building and seeking consortia for H2020 and Innovate UK calls.

Key areas of activity include off-road and Autonomous vehicle dynamics and development, off-road environment simulation, tyre characterisation and modelling, vehicle efficiency, motorsport engineering and management, terra-mechanics, vehicle light-weighting and novel materials, including nano and hybrid composites, agricultural engineering and off road environment measurement.



Messier Bugatti Dowty


Jaguar Land Rover


Yamaha (GP team)

Millbrook Proving Ground



Claas GmbH


Redbull Technology



Singapore Technologies Marine

Michelin (America)

Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd.




European Space Agency


PMC Harvesters

Automotive Research Center (USA)




Safran Landing systems



Articles In Journals

Conference Papers