The expanding automotive industry in the US needs Bachelor of Science degree-level mechanical engineers who have specialized in automotive engineering. In recent years, within the Mechanical Engineering, Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), there has been an intense interest by students, faculty, and staff in automotive engineering related areas. One manifestation of this is RIT's impressive record in national collegiate automotive competitions such as the SAE Formula competition in which individual teams design and build a race car to compete in various autocross events. In response to the employment need and local interest, an official automotive option (one of the few in the country) was recently approved and is currently under development. While faculty expertise exists, state-of-the-art laboratory equipment is not available for curricular usage. The objective of this project is to strengthen the laboratory component of the automotive option. Because of RIT's participation in the SAE Formula competition, its close proximity to automotive organizations, and its large suburban campus, an initial laboratory focus on vehicle handling, performance, and navigation (e.g. vs. engines) is appropriate at this time. Students will learn fundamental principles in the area of vehicle handling, performance, and navigation, as well as gain experience with instrumentation (including an optical based "slip angle" sensor) and data acquisition systems. Steady-state handling experiments will be conducted on the instrumented "RIT car" based on testing industry standards. Vehicle performance experiments will characterize the longitudinal speed and acceleration. By using principles of navigation students will be able to determine the instantaneous location of the vehicle and compare it to that provided by landmarks and accurate maps. Learning the above principles will provide students with the necessary laboratory skills to function effectively in a vehicle testing environment.