A Proven Method: DRIVE Constellation Now Supports CarSim Vehicle Model

Mechanical Simulation integrates industry-validated model into NVIDIA’s open and scalable simulation platform.
by Matt Cragun

NVIDIA’s simulation tools for testing autonomous cars in the virtual world now offer more models for validation.

Two key simulation companies — Mechanical Simulation, creator of CarSim and TruckSim, and IPG — are integrating their high-fidelity vehicle models into the NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation platform.

This means that every aspect of driving — from how long it takes the car to brake to how it performs on slippery roads — can be accurately re-created in simulation. The level of detail provided by vehicle models combined with the level of detail for the environment provided by DRIVE Sim makes it possible for these tests to easily translate to real-world results.

DRIVE Constellation consists of two side-by-side servers in the data center. DRIVE Constellation Simulator generates sensor output from the virtual car. And DRIVE Constellation Computer contains the DRIVE AGX Pegasus AI car computer, which receives the data, makes decisions and then sends vehicle control commands back to the simulator. This closed-loop process enables bit-accurate, timing-accurate hardware-in-the-loop testing.

DRIVE Constellation is also an open platform, offering a programming interface that allows users or ecosystem partners to incorporate their environment models, vehicle models, sensor models and traffic scenarios. By working a variety of partners, the platform can generate comprehensive, diverse and complex testing environments.

Modeling Vehicle Dynamics

DRIVE Constellation simulates the environment, traffic scenario and behavior of the vehicle using dedicated models for each domain. Vehicle models, like those from Mechanical Simulation and IPG, simulate motion of the car in response to control inputs, like braking, steering and suspension, as well as world conditions, like slick or bumpy roads.

Since vehicle motion is so complex — 30,000 individual parts go into a single physical car — simulating it effectively requires a high-fidelity model. This ensures the tests performed in the virtual world accurately replicate real-world conditions.

Companies have been developing ways to test vehicle dynamics for years, including in simulation. Because of the complexity of these vehicle models, automakers and tier 1 suppliers have invested heavily in developing and validating their models.

By integrating third-party simulation tools, DRIVE Constellation makes it possible for automakers and tier 1s to get even more value out of their models by using them for autonomous vehicle testing.

New Additions to DRIVE Constellation

With more integrations, the DRIVE Constellation platform becomes more comprehensive.

Mechanical Simulation’s CarSim and TruckSim models have become industry-standard tools for modeling vehicle dynamics and developing advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles.

They can take into account all the complex vehicle subsystems, such as powertrain, steering behavior and aerodynamics, while also accurately replicating driver inputs for steering, acceleration and braking.

Automakers worldwide are already using these models to validate vehicle technology. With DRIVE Constellation, they can test it in a hardware-in-the-loop platform at scale.