Steven Becker Automotive Engineer & Crash Expert

Steven Becker, Automotive Engineer & Crash Expert

Steven is a vehicle engineer with more than twenty years experience and has worked directly for automotive manufacturers and tier 1 automotive parts suppliers. He provides investigations, reports, and testimony toward the resolution of litigation involving vehicle crashes, fires, and other losses. In the course of his casework, Steven commonly investigates matters involving crash reconstruction, claims of deficient maintenance/repair, and vehicle design defects.

As a vehicle engineer, Steven was involved in computer aided design and crash modeling, and physical testing and data analysis for durability and performance; he specialized in noise and vibration engineering. In this role he was responsible for designing vehicle systems, identifying, diagnosing, and remediating noise and vibration throughout entire vehicles. This process involved Steven in the design and engineering of nearly every aspect of the vehicle, from bumpers and occupant protection structures, to engine, drivetrain, and suspension components, and vehicle electronic systems. Steven provided vehicle analyses on the Viper, Sebring, Neon, PT Cruiser and Grand Cherokee vehicle lines while working at Chrysler. He acquired experience with a broad range of vehicle manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GM, Honda, Land Rover, Nissan, Porsche, and Toyota, Volkswagen during his years at Magna Powertrain.

Steven is a degreed Mechanical Engineer as well as a Certified Inspection Mechanic. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and has firsthand experience with the quality assurance programs utilized by the auto industry including Six Sigma, Shainin, Taguchi and Root Cause. Steven carries his passion for vehicles into his personal life as an avid Off-Roader. He has built various recreational vehicles including a modified Jeep as well as a dune buggy.

In addition to his vehicle engineering practice, Steven also extends his experience towards cases involving river rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. Steve has been involved in river running for more than twenty years in recreational and leadership roles. As a white water enthusiast, Steve has paddled rivers up and down the eastern seaboard, as well as rivers in Colorado and Canada. Steve was also actively involved in the Syracuse University Outing Club as a kayaking instructor and later a founding member of the Whitewater Kayaking Club. Steve has taught various safety techniques related to river running, including defensive swimming, aggressive swimming, and a variety of rescue techniques.

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony towards the resolution of litigation involving product liability, accident reconstruction, mechanical engineering, and photogrammetric/video analysis.

Motor Vehicle Design, Development and Testing – from requirements, concept through validation field-testing of complete vehicles, including manufacturing. Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) for products & process; DVP&R development; as well as writing trouble shooting and service procedures. Testing pre-production and production vehicles in extreme environments at or above rated capabilities.

Motor Vehicle System Design, Development and Testing – conventional and anti-lock brakes; restraints; powertrain; throttle-by-wire; seat; gear shift; transmission; 4WD and drivetrain systems (axle, shafts, PTUs); vehicle control modules testing; suspension; steering; tires; electrical; climate control; frames; bumpers; and structures.

Motor Vehicle Failures – seat belt; seat retention, air bag; structural; suspension; axle, spindle failure and separation; wheel and bearing failure; transmission or transfer-case failure; sudden acceleration; steering; frame and unibody; steering; ABS; off-road utility vehicles (ATV and UTV), golf cart, car, light truck and medium truck brakes; trailer hitches; throttle by wire; electronic throttle and vehicle systems control.

Motor Vehicle Repair – diagnosis and repair of engine, transmission, transfer case, differential and final drive, suspension and steering systems, conventional and anti-lock brake systems, stability/traction control, fuel system, emissions systems, climate control, video, network, multiplexing, primary and supplemental restraint systems, lighting/ electrical, interior/exterior components and systems, interaction of dealers and manufacturers, and Safety Recall repairs. Proper use of service repair tools and equipment, repair procedures and shop operations.

Manufacturing Process and Equipment – Gear processing and heat treatment, pneumatic and DC powered tools, hand tools, torque verification means and methods, Six-Sigma and Statistical Process Control (SPC), Mistake and Error proofing, operator protection means and methods, operator ergonomics, operator lift assists, end-of-line verification machines and testing.

Vehicle Accident Reconstruction – inspection of damaged vehicle and components; CDR/EDR “black box” data retrieval and analysis; Site inspection; Review of police report, witness statements, scene photos and other documents. Computational simulation of the accident using facts and scientifically accepted methodology to determine how the crash occurred, including the resulting severity. Pedestrian knockdowns and their kinematics and interaction with vehicles, roadways, and surfaces.

Digital Forensics – Photogrammetry, Video, and Data Analysis making measurements from images used to identify people, vehicle models, speeds, and geometry changes. Evaluation of video surveillance systems, Dash-cam data analysis, photographs, computer aided drawings (CAD), animations, and simulations related to vehicles, pedestrians, and other scalable objects.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc

Associate

2009 to present
  • Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports and testimony towards the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving vehicle collisions, pedestrians, vehicle design issues, acoustics, mechanical defects and malfunctions, and vehicle repair issues for: ATVs, UTVs (side by side ATVs), golf carts, bicycles, motorcycles, passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks and tractor trailers.
  • Experienced case work on over 300 investigations and testimony involving: scene diagramming, evidence collection, gunshot acoustics, environmental acoustics, sirens and backup alarms, manufacturing and test machine design, pedestrian knockdown, bicycle collisions, low speed collisions, occupant dynamics and restraint, black box (CDR, EDR, ACM, PCM) download and data analysis, automotive design/engineering and defective repair for: oil changes, lighting systems, engines, transmissions, brake systems, steering and suspension systems, axle systems, driveshafts and universal joints, throttle systems, vehicle structure, bumpers, vehicle dynamics and collision simulations.
  • 3D scanning, digital imagery and video analysis in determining distances and imagery content. Imagery enhancement and photogrammetric measurement.

Fournier, Robson & Associates, LLC

Associate

2009 to present
  • Provide acoustic and vibration monitoring and problem diagnosis involving building acoustics, environmental noise, and machine vibrations.
  • Test, data analysis, and instrumentation including: accelerometers, microphones, strain gauges, torque cell, speedometers, thermocouples, position sensors, etc.
  • Vehicle engineering and test development consulting.
  • Computer aided design (CAD), Animation and Simulation.

Magna Powertrain – New Process Gear Division

1997 to 2009

Engineering Test Services Manager 1999-2009

  • An active project engineer and manager for three worldwide manufacturing and two engineering sites' noise and vibration activities; project approval, purchasing, timing, and methodology.
  • Managed and trained engineers and mechanics in product development, vehicle and component testing, data analysis, control module testing and data analysis.
  • Product design and development engineering for gears, sprockets, chains, shift actuators, control modules, transmissions, 4WD and AWD transfercases, PTUs, and axles.
  • Negotiation of customer product specifications relating to noise and durability with Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Land Rover, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
  • Test vehicle fleet management of use, repair, and inspection
  • Design of the machine, driveshafts and joints, test enclosure, quality and test plan for product end of line test.
  • Developed the capability for electrodynamic shaker durability testing, HALT.
  • Performed vehicle dynamics testing and durability development for traction control systems.
  • Developed and taught a course on Design for Test Engineering for powertrain products.
  • Used problem solving techniques; Six Sigma, Shainin, Taguchi, Root Cause.

Quality Engineer 1997-1999

  • Implemented the quality process for assembly line First Time Capability improvement, and defect repair.
  • Provided for the safety of the end of line operators on powertrain test machines.
  • Designed methods of noise and imagery analysis for production inspection and repair of manual transaxles, gears sets, power take-off units, and transfer cases.
  • Performed process audits and verification of all design changes throughout production that affect noise (FMEA, APQP).
  • Designed test apparatus including; motors, controls, shafting, and fixtures.

Chrysler Corporation

Sci Lab Engineer from Modern Engineering

1994 to 1997
  • Product instrumentation, testing, and data analysis for Chrysler vehicles including; sound package design, design and development of engine mount systems, induction resonators, control modules, vibration dampers, and various structural components.
  • Design, performance, and crash testing for the stiffness of structural components and joints of the vehicle body, including bumpers and the unibody.
  • Powertrain and drivetrain noise and vibration specialist.
  • Design and testing for Viper, Sebring, Neon, PT cruiser, Grand Cherokee, and Minivan.
  • Coordinated shift assignments for engineers, mechanics and technicians.

New Venture Gear

Product Engineer from CDI Corporation

1993 to 1994
  • Designed geared systems for automotive transmissions.
  • Established a method of experimentation with accelerometers and microphones and computer simulation.
  • Performed acoustic and vibration instrumentation, testing, and analysis of gears, bearings, and shift actuators.

Alliant Computer

Computer Network Engineer

1989 to 1991
  • Local Area Network design
  • Performed trouble shooting between mini-super computers, terminals, workstations and various PCs with Ethernet and RS232 communications. Re-routing of physical cabling and development of a digital graphics network.
  • Back-ups and shell scripts for a Mini-Super computer manufacturer.

Professional Credentials

  • Certified Inspection Mechanic, Class 1 (passenger car / light truck): Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Amusement Ride Safety General Qualified Inspector, Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture

Education

  • M.B.A. Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 2007
  • B. S., Mechanical Engineering (with Aerospace), Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, 1992

Continuing Education

  • Advanced Human Factors in Traffic Crashes, Crash Safety Solutions, LLC, 2022
  • iNPUT-ACE Video Evidence Symposium Webinar, (Camera match, reverse projection, comparison analysis, speed analysis), 2021
  • Acoustical Engineering Society Pro Audio Conference, 2019
  • Interactive Driver Response Research Program (I.DRR) Instruction, Crash Safety Solutions, 2019
  • ARC-CSI Crash Conference and the Pedestrian Crash Research Team, Collision Safety Institute, 2017
  • Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Seminar, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureaus of Ride and Measurement Standards, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021
  • Traffic Crash Reconstruction 3, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, 2016
  • FARO Laser Scanning, 2016, 2018
  • Traffic Crash Reconstruction - 2, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, 2015
  • Timken Tech Series on Bearings - Certificate 2015
  • Siemens: Durability and Fatigue, Fundamentals of Sound, Driving Dynamics, 2014
  • Photomodeler Photogrammetry, 2014
  • CDR Data Analyst Certification, 2013
  • PC-Crash Software Crash Simulation and Animation Skills, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2019
  • Traffic Crash Reconstruction 1 & 2, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, 2010
  • Leika Total Station, Digital Laser Survey Techniques, 2010, 2012
  • Certified Inspection Mechanic Class, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center, 2009, 2018
  • Polytec Non-contact Laser Doppler Vibrometry, 2008
  • Bruel & Kjaer Operational Deflection Shapes Analysis, 2006
  • Six Sigma Yellow Belt training, 2006
  • OSHA Compliance, 2003
  • LMS Modal Testing, 2003
  • Labview Systems Engineering, 2002
  • Shainin Red X Apprentice training, 2001
  • New Venture Gear Off-Road Driving Techniques, 1999
  • Small Engine Maintenance and Repair, 1999
  • Emergency Responder and Hazardous Substances, 1997
  • Chrysler Performance Driving Techniques, 1996
  • Dale Carnegie-Effective Communication & Human Relations, 1996
  • Gear Dynamics and Gear Noise, and LDP analysis, Ohio State University, 1994
  • Applications in Parallel Axis Gear Design, Drive Systems Technology, 1993

Professional Memberships

  • American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)
  • AES Audio Forensics technical committee member
  • Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
  • American Whitewater
  • Audio Engineering Society

Publications

  • P.J. Leiss, S. Becker, G. Derian, “Tire Friction Comparison of Three Tire Types in Warm and Near Freezing Temperatures,” Collision, 12(1):24-40, 2017
  • Burns, James, U.S Patent 9,073,515 - System for Removing Snow from a Roof of a Vehicle; July 7, 2015
  • Parking Brake Use Study, SAE, 2013-01-0199
  • Tire Friction Comparison of Three Tire Types, SAE, 2013-01-0783
  • The NP244 Transfercase Chain Noise Reduction Using a Gemini HyVo Chain System, SAE, 2005-01-2298
  • 1st Order Boom Noise Relationship to Driveline Imbalance, SAE, 2005-01-2299
  • Measurement of Transfercase Imbalance, SAE, 2005-01-2297
  • Gear Noise Rating Prediction Based on Objective Measurements, SAE, 1999-01-1721
  • Objective Rating of Gear Whine, SAE, 1999-01-1720

Other

  • Boy Scout and Cub Scout Den Leader, 2011-present
  • Mountaineering and technical rock climber, 1990-present
  • Twisted Axles 4WD Club, Founding member, 1999-2004
  • WPI Computer lab monitor/instructor, 1988-1992
  • Cycling and Mountain biking, 1987-present
  • Soccer and Track coach – various
  • Whitewater Kayaking
    • Kayaker, 1993-present
    • Instructor - teaching river safety, Eskimo roll, self-rescue, and swift water rescue, 1998- present
  • River rafting guide, Whitewater Challengers, 2015-present

Whitewater Experience

River rafting, kayaking, and canoeing, on whitewater rivers and on flat, moving rivers. Outfitting and guiding river trips.

River Running Experience:

Have organized and supervised many recreational rivers trips in the United States and Canada, (New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Ottawa, Ontario) using rafts, kayaks, canoes. 1990-present.

  • Rivers Paddled:
    • CO: Gunnison, Green, South Platte
    • MD: Gunpowder Falls, Potomac, Savage
    • NY: Moose, Black, Fish, Beaver, Salmon, Mill Creek, Cazenovia Creek, Limestone Creek, Independence, Raquette, Sacandaga, Schroon, West Canada Creek, Owasco Outlet, Nine Mile Creek, Hudson, Taughannock, Woodhull
    • PA: Tohicken, Susquehanna, Codorus, Conestoga, Muddy Creek, Mill Creek, Pequea Creek, Pine Creek, Stoney Creek, Lehigh, Schuylkill, Youghiogheny
    • VT: Deerfield
    • WV: New River, Cheat Canyon, Gauley, Savage
    • Canada: Ottawa
    • Atlantic Ocean

River Education and Teaching:

  • River running from Syracuse University Outing Club, whitewater kayaking, 1993-1998
  • Rafting experience with outfitters on the Black River, NY, New River, WV, Deerfield, VT, Youghiogheny, PA, Lehigh, PA
  • Syracuse University Outing Club, kayaking instructor, 1998-2002
  • Syracuse Whitewater Kayaking Club, kayaking instructor and founding member, 2004-2009
  • American Whitewater, member
  • River Guide Training - Whitewater Challengers, Weatherly PA, 2015
    • 2015, 2016 Part-Time River Guide - Raft and Kayak guide on the class 2-3 Lehigh River. Provide river rafting instruction to guests for small groups up to 120 people per trip. Pretrip river and rafting safety and instruction. Kayak alongside guests to ensure their safety; provide instruction on paddle technique, directing rafts along the various river lines in rapids; river lore, provide swift water rescue, first aid, and unpinning of stuck rafts as needed.

v. 05/13/22

Related Resources

See All of Steven's Published Content

Interpreting Vehicle EDR (Black Box) Data & Recognizing Errors

By Steven Becker
Expert Article

In this article, the automotive engineers at Robson Forensic provide an introduction on the capabilities and limitations of vehicle EDR (black box) data. Automotive Event Data Recorders The Event Data…

Low Speed Crash Safety - Crash Testing Research

By Steven Becker
Expert Article

How does seatbelt use or non-use affect occupant safety in relatively low-speed impacts? In this research, the automotive engineers at Robson Forensic demonstrate the effectiveness of seatbelt use in…

Low Speed Collision - Experts Reconstruct Crash to Determine Injury Causation

By Steven Becker
Expert Article

Robson Forensic was retained to determine if the forces generated in a two car, same direction crash were sufficient to cause injuries. The Plaintiff was driving slowly, approaching a stoplight, when…

Photogrammetry & Taking Effective Inspection Photos

Thursday, May 07, 2020
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Steven Becker & Marcus A. Mazza
Video Webinar

This webinar program will provide attorneys and adjusters with an overview of photogrammetry and how digital photos can be used to obtain measurements, determine distance and speed, as well as other…