Mechanical Simulation Releases 2018.1 Versions of Vehicle Simulation Tools

The vehicle simulation software packages have been extended with many new animation resources (walking pedestrians, pedaling bicyclists, running animals), road surfaces and paint markings, road signs and other “props” that appear along a road.

Mechanical Simulation has released the 2018.1 versions of the vehicle dynamics simulation tools CarSim, TruckSim and BikeSim. Departing from past versions, this major vehicle simulation release comes six months after the previous major release in December 2017.

The Atlas web tool is used with Import options to reproduce the 3D geometry of a highway exit in TruckSim (I-94 exit 172 in Ann Arbor). Image courtesy of Mechanical Simulation. The Atlas web tool is used with Import options to reproduce the 3D geometry of a highway exit in TruckSim (I-94 exit 172 in Ann Arbor). Image courtesy of Mechanical Simulation.

“Our past practice was to provide a major software upgrade about once per year, and at the halfway point incorporate minor updates for bug fixes or features that weren’t quite ready for the full release,” says Dr. Michael Sayers, CEO and chief technology officer. “In earlier days, our products were used mainly to study vehicle dynamic behavior, and many of the improvements involved the math model of the vehicle behavior.”

“Simulated conditions have expanded to include running with the many built-in controllers in hundreds of thousands or even millions of simulations to cover situations in which the controllers must always perform safely,” Sayers adds.

In addition to vehicle math models and visualization tools, the simulation tools need to include multiple 3D road surfaces, other vehicles and possibly pedestrians and/or animals. The software packages have been extended to fill these needs, with many new animation resources (walking pedestrians, pedaling bicyclists, running animals), road surfaces and paint markings, road signs and other “props” that appear along a road. A tool called VS Scene Builder was introduced in the previous 2018.0 versions to build scenes with drag-and-drop to locate paths and objects. A web-based tool called Atlas was introduced a few years ago to download GPS data from mapping services such as Google in order to simulate existing roads and intersections.

In preparing for the 2018.1 release, developers at Mechanical Simulation realized the overall improvements were fairly major. Although the new versions include many improvements in the vehicle models, improvements may be more significant in the scenario-building tools and supporting resources. The new capabilities include: improvements in the Atlas tool to include GPS altitude along with latitude and longitude when downloading data; improved smoothing and editing of data when importing GPS data into CarSim, TruckSim and BikeSim; and software improvements in VS Scene Builder (UnDo/Redo, dragging and dropping animator assets into the scene, access to global X-Y coordinates in scene).

Although the most visible changes involve roads and scenery, the math models were also upgraded: connections to external software such as Simulink now support a “preview” option that eliminates lag between connected models; management of multiple roads and paths was improved to reuse datasets more easily; built-in sensors and moving objects have new features that simplify the simulation of traffic vehicles, pedestrians and traffic signals.

Mechanical Simulation Corporation develops and distributes advanced software used to simulate vehicle performance under various conditions. The company was established in 1996, and from its Ann Arbor, MI, headquarters provides car, truck and motorcycle simulation packages, training and ongoing support to more than 90 OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, and over 160 universities and government research groups worldwide.

Sources: Press materials received from the company.


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