The present paper is related to a research activity concerning self-balancing vehicles, with particular reference to the interaction between driver and vehicle’s dynamics, at the aim to investigate safety management and strategies. In particular, the paper presents the design process of a self-balancing vehicle with the target to be used as a test rig for safety investigations. Besides the definition of the mechanical configuration, the design process includes also the choice of the motor/transmission unit, the design of the control system and the design of sensors related to vehicle/driver interaction. For design purposes, a simplified two dof planar model has been considered with the driver fixed with the vehicle chassis. Through a proper linearisation of such model, the dynamics of the system has been described by means of a state space approach, used to tune the controller, not only for stability but also for optimal response. In order to test the suitability of the designed vehicle for safety investigations, the paper presents also a Multibody model of the vehicle designed and of a driver with three driven joints. Such model allows to simulate the interaction between human (driver) and machine (vehicle), taking into consideration also the coupling between longitudinal motion and turn. By means of co-simulations between the multibody model (developed with MSC.Adams) and the controller (modelled with Matlab/Simulink), tests have been performed showing the possibility to detect influence of the driver’s behavior on the vehicle’s dynamics.