Driving Simulators

CarSim and TruckSim are being used in a wide variety of driving simulators. These range in size and price, from $20,000 Desktop systems to $100,000,000 full-vehicle simulators. If you want a low-cost turnkey driving simulator from Mechanical Simulation, you can get CarSim DS or TruckSim DS.

Existing driving simulators have been made using the other product versions, either with the real-time version of VS Visualizer, or third-party animations. For example, CarSim-based simulators have been made with plain Windows CarSim and CarSim RT.

Desktop and other non-Motion Simulators

Engineers, Race Drivers, Control system developers and other users can “drive” their vehicles using CarSim DS at their desks or in custom-built simulators. Driver controls range from game-type plastic controls to highly accurate steering systems and pedals. CarSim DS provides low-cost, real-time operation in a Windows environment using standard PCs, suitable for engineers and electronic control developers to test their concepts in a virtual car on proving ground roads, and "feel" how the vehicle behaves. Besides the live animation and experience of driving, the engineers can also review animations and data plots after the test drive is completed. With these low-cost systems, users can discriminate the difference in tires, stability control algorithms, race car chassis setups, and many other items.

Software-in-the-loop capability, inherent to all versions of CarSim, allows realistic evaluations of ESC, radar braking, adaptive cruise control, or any electronic chassis system. Users add their Simulink, AMESim, or C-code models to CarSim, easily replacing any of our standard chassis or powertrain components.

Driving simulator capability is also available with our real-time Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) systems. Engineers can test new electronic controllers in a real-time driving experience. They can also install a complete vehicle system (steering, brakes, or suspension) in a simulator running CarSim RT and an HIL system from any of our real-time partners — including all of the major worldwide HIL suppliers.

Driving Simulators with Motion Systems

CarSim and TruckSim are being used in over 1400 driving simulators around the world. One of the most impressive is Toyota’s full-vehicle simulator in Susono, Japan. Another is the DLR simulator in Braunschweig, Germany.

Full-motion simulators can handle light to heavy payloads based on individual project needs. We have worked with over a dozen different partners who build complete driving simulators, and with Universities and R&D organizations that build their own. All of these partners have found it easy to integrate CarSim into their simulators. Some systems contain just a driver seat and instrument panel, while others have driver interior bucks or complete vehicles.

Uses include evaluation of driver responses to new Intelligent Traffic Systems or advanced proactive safety systems. These include electronic vehicle controls, navigational aids, and warning devices. Examples are lane control systems, automatic cruise controls, advanced stability control systems, and vehicle-to-vehicle or highway- to-vehicle communications. Driving Simulators provide a safe and accurate method of testing driver interactions with these new systems without endangering people or damaging expensive prototypes. Impaired drivers can also be tested in simulators to evaluate drug effects. New electronic chassis systems and software can be tested even before prototype vehicles are available.

Other uses include new roads and highway development, or new proving ground road systems. One OEM “drove” their new handling course before it was built to evaluate the performance limits of their future vehicles and ensure safe test track conditions at maximum speeds.

MotorSports Applications of Driving Simulators

Race Drivers can get a feel for a new race course in either a stationary or motion-based driving simulator. Practice rounds can significantly reduce lap times by trying different lines in curves, and various braking and acceleration points. Some users have even predicted the minimum lap times possible for any chassis setup or set of driver controls by using DOE (design of experiments) software in conjunction with CarSim. Drivers can then drive the optimum setup for each track before leaving their garages.

Race Track Owners and Race Series certification bodies can establish driver training qualifications using driving simulators before opening the race track to rookies. Are they capable of safely driving this course in a specific high-performance race car? This is similar to the hundreds of driving simulators used in High Schools and driver training schools for training new drivers before they hit the streets.

Driver Training Simulators

Driving Simulators are being used worldwide to safely train new car and truck drivers. Pre-accident conditions can be experienced in the simulator allowing new drivers to get a feel for what is safe and what will result in an accident. CarSim and TruckSim have allowed very accurate training methods that can predict vehicle rollovers, stopping distances on wet, dry or icy roads, severe steering maneuvers, and a host of other real-life driving situations. These can be driven in low-cost, non-motion simulators or the more expensive motion-based simulators, depending on the degree of driver feel required.

Mechanical Simulation and our partners have integrated CarSim and TruckSim into a wide variety of driving simulators throughout the world. You can drive samples at many of our offices or trade shows. CarSim Runtime licenses for manufacturers allow a low cost, but highly accurate vehicle model to be interfaced with existing visual animators, scenario generation software and motion control systems. Our modular software can be easily interfaced into any driving simulator training platform.

CarSim DS with hexapod driving simulator. Click for more detail.
Toyota full-vehicle simulator
Toyota full-vehicle simulator.
CarSim driving simulator at Auto Shanghai (2011).
CarSim DS can be as simple as a laptop with inexpensive controls.
High-precision steering system used to provide realistic steering wheel torque.
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