The scientific activities of the Laboratory of Off-Road Machine and Vehicle Engineering, aimed the implementation of  innovative strategy in science, have resulted in the establishment of a research school with an internationally unique research and teaching laboratory, in the field of off-road machines and vehicles. This research and development unit was built on the foundation of tradition dating back to the Lviv Polytechnic, taking into account the inspiration of the fascinating works in the field of terramechanics, by the great Pole Professor M.G. Bekker, creator of the Lunar Roving Vehicle chassis used in the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 lunar missions, honorary doctorate of many renowned universities, including  Munich, Ottawa and Bologna.

The Department in its present form was established on 1. November 1999 as a chair, and after organisational changes at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology, on 1. April 2014 it gained the status of a Department of Off-Road Machine and Vehicle Engineering. It is a continuation of the Department of Crane Machinery and Transport Equipment established in 1946 at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Wrocław University of  Science and Technology, which was initially (1946-1948) headed by Zygmunt Leśniewski. Before the war, Prof. Roman Sobolski was an assistant professor at the Department of Crane Machinery of the Technical University of Lviv, which was headed by Prof. Łukasiewicz. After the war, in the years 1946-1948, he was co-organiser and director of the Central Office of Machine Construction in Bytom. 

The breakthrough year was 1968, when the Institute of Design and Use of Machines was established at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, with Prof. Sobolski as its long-term director. The department were abolished and scientific and didactic establishments were created. Four chairs were created from the Department of Crane Machinery and Transport Equipment: These were: Cranes and Conveyors, headed by Prof. Sobolski; Construction and Road Machine Engineering, headed by Associate Prof. Jerzy Tęsiorowski, Machines and Equipment for Extractive Mining, headed by Associate Prof. Henryk Hawrylak, and the Department of Hydraulic and Pneumatic Drives and Controls, headed by Associate Prof. Stefan Stryczek.

In 1980, following the Institute’s reorganisation, the first three chairs became part of the Heavy and Mining Machinery Teaching Group, which coordinated teaching activities in the previously formed specialisations. The Head of the Didactic Complex in the years 1980-1991 was Prof. Kazimierz Pieczonka. At that time, scientific activity was conducted in three research teams, periodically appointed to carry out specific tasks. The first team was headed by Prof. Roman Sobolski (1981-1985) and Tadeusz Nogieć, PhD (1986-1991); the second team was headed by Associate Prof. Jerzy Tęsiorowski (1981-1985) and then by Stefan Makacewicz, PhD  (1986-1991); the third team was headed by Prof. Henryk Hawrylak (1981-1985) and (1989-1991), as well as by Stanisław Welik, PhD (1986-1988). 

In 1991, within the existing teaching staff, a new scientific and didactic Chair of Design and Automation of Working Machines was established, together with a Research Laboratory of Machines and Working Processes, headed by Prof. Zbigniew Korzeń. In 1993, a group of people from this chair Department of Mechanical Engineering separated and under the supervision of Prof. Dionizy Dudek,  a separate Chair of Reliability Engineering and Diagnostics. Over the years, Prof. Z. Korzeń, together with some of his employees, directed his activities in a new direction, namely logistics and integrated materials flow techniques.

The remaining group of employees continued their scientific and research activity in the area of specialisations shaped by tradition, establishing on 1. November 1999 the Chair of Off-Road Machine and Vehicle Engineering under the direction of Prof. Piotr Dudziński,  from 2004 full professor, was the Head of the Chair until 31. March 2014 and after another reorganisation, i.e. from 1. April 2014 to 31. December 2019 (reaching the age of 70) the Head of the Department of Off-Road Machine and Vehicle Engineering. In 2019, Prof. Wiesław Fiebig took over the leadership of the Department. Starting October 1, 2021, the Department ceased to exist as a separate organizational unit of the university, its employees joined the Department of Fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronic Systems (K61W10D07), forming the Laboratory of Off-Road Machine and Vehicle Engineering.