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CarSim Package Options

CarSim is a software package for simulating and analyzing the behavior of four-wheeled vehicles in response to steering, braking, and acceleration inputs. CarSim runs faster than real-time using ordinary PC's. The basic CarSim packages require no other software, although full compatibility with other simulation environments is included for MATLAB/Simulink, LabVIEW, ETAS ASCET, and programming languages such as Visual Basic and C.

For information about system requirements and software compatibility; see this specification sheet.

Additional packages offer extra capabilities.

Core CarSim

CarSim includes a set of VS Solvers customized to provide parametric models of automobiles and light trucks, a VS Browser and GUI customized to work with the CarSim VS Solvers, and the VS Visualizer for animation and plotting. CarSim also includes many example 3D vehicle shapes used for examples in the CarSim database, and ready for use in new user-defined vehicles.

As with any VehicleSim product, CarSim includes interfaces between the CarSim DLL files and Simulink, LabVIEW, and ASCET. The CarSim VS Solvers fully support the VS Command scripting language, for automation and model extension. They also support the VS API, providing access to the math models from external programs written in languages such as MATLAB, Visual BASIC, C/C++, Python, etc.

All solvers support 99 programmable moving objects (traffic vehicles, crossing vehicles, pedestrians, etc.). Movement is controlled with VS Commands or external software (e.g., Simulink).

Although one DLL works for many contexts, each DLL is customized for a particular CarSim vehicle model configuration of axles and trailers. The overall vehicle configuration is described with a short code based on these rules:

  • Each axle is represented with the letter I, S, or T, indicating whether the associated suspension is an independent (I), solid-axle (S), or twist-beam (T) system.
  • A trailer hitch is represented with a plus sign and surrounding spaces (" + "). For example, " I_S + S" is the code for a motor vehicle with an independent front and solid-axle rear suspension towing a one-axle trailer with a solid-axle suspension.
  • Models that include extra detail for frame-twist have a prefix of "F_", such as "F_S_S."
  • Models that include extra detail for engine mounts have a prefix of "E_", such as "E_I_I."

Using this notation, the table below lists the 12 configurations that come with CarSim. Each configuration is handled with DLLs for three models: basic, frame-twist, and with engine mounts. These 36 models are provided as both 32-bit and 64-bit DLLs. Overall, CarSim includes 72 custom VS Solver DLLs.

Basic + Trailer Frames with Twist + Trailer Engine Mounts + Trailer
I_I
I_S
I_T
S_S
I_I + S
I_S + S
I_T + S
S_S + S
I_I + SS
I_S + SS
I_T + SS
S_S + SS
F_I_I
F_I_S
F_I_T
F_S_S
F_I_I + S
F_I_S + S
F_I_T + S
F_S_S + S
F_I_I + SS
F_I_S + SS
F_I_T + SS
F_S_S + SS
E_I_I
E_I_S
E_I_T
E_S_S
E_I_I + S
E_I_S + S
E_I_T + S
E_S_S + S
E_I_I + SS
E_I_S + SS
E_I_T + SS
E_S_S + SS

ADAS Sensors

The sensor option provides up to 20 range and detection sensors. The main outputs of interest are variables that link a sensor to a detected object. Each possible combination of sensor and target object has an associated set of output variables that can be used in user-defined models to simulate advanced intervention controls. These include bearing angles to the left edge, right edge, and closest point; distances to the left edge, right edge, and closest point; ID of object; relative speed to the closest point; width; etc.

The detection variables are typically sent to Simulink for use in user-defined advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) or other advanced controllers. The sensors have sensitivity to range, bearing, elevation, and reflectiveness. Targets can be rectangular or cylindrical. Occlusion (blocking of view) is supported, to simulated conditions where some objects block others, or when part of a large object (building, parked car, etc.) is partly outside the range of the sensor field.

CarSim Trailer

CarSim Trailer allows eight more solvers to be used, to cover the above four configurations when towing one- and two-axle trailers.

Engine Mounts

The engine-mount option treats the powertrain as a rigid body with additional degrees of freedom (DOF), supported by mounts with stiffness and damping.

CarSim with Frame Twist

CarSim with frame twist allows alternate DLL's to run with math models that include torsional compliance in the body. The frame twist can be significant for some utility and motorsport vehicles.

Real-Time Versions

CarSim Real-Time (RT) provides math models compiled to run on "target" computers with real-time operating systems such as QNX, Linux RT, dSPACE, etc. A Windows "host" machine is used for the CarSim GUI and database, VS Visualizer, and Windows VS Solvers that may be used for off-line simulation. Files are automatically sent to and received from the target, where the Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) testing is controlled. (See the RT page for more information.) RT versions are available as off-the-shelf DVDs for these platforms:

  • dSPACE (DS1005, DS1006, DS1103, SCALEXIO)
  • Opal-RT RT-Lab systems (version 7 and higher)
  • National Instruments LabVIEW RT and VeriStand
  • ETAS LabCar RT
  • Fujitsu-Ten CRAMAS
  • A&D (AD5410, AD5440)

Input and output files from CarSim RT can be exchanged with users of offline (Windows, non-RT) CarSim. This lets you follow the same design and evaluation from preliminary design to HIL evaluation.

Driving Simulators (CarSim DS)

CarSim vehicle math models have been used in many driving simulators. Here are several ways to use CarSim in a driving simulator.

  • The CarSim DS desktop package includes the basic CarSim software and a license that activates the "live" RT mode of the CarSim animator, plus an RT control that slows the math model down to "wait" for real time, plus a GUI that supports several supported controllers for steering, braking, and shifting the transmission. Options for this package include a higher-quality steering system for more accurate steering feel. VS Visualizer supports multiple windows for one computer; it is usually possible to view 3 monitors using a single computer running VS Visualizer. If more computers are used to support more monitors, then additional live animator licenses can be obtained.
  • CarSim can be used to replace the math models in existing Windows-based simulator systems. It is often possible to run the regular CarSim math model DLLs from your simulation environment using the VehicleSim API.
  • The regular RT systems support live animation and are sometimes uses as driving simulators, especially when the simulator is intended to include HIL controllers.

Interface to AVL Cruise

The CarSim models include an option for low-level integration with the commercial powertrain simulation software Cruise from AVL. With this option, the internal powertrain model in CarSim is replaced with a model from AVL Cruise.


CarSim with moving objects and ADAS sensors is used for lane detection, AAC, blind-spot detection, etc. Click for more detail.

synched plot and video
Use the optional ADAS Sensor feature to simplify simulation of Euro NCAP testing. Click for more detail.
Backing up with a CarSim trailer. Click for more detail.
This video (2010) demonstrates and explains the CarSim engine mount model.

hexDS
VS Visualizer supports HUD gauges and rear-vew mirrors in live and post-processing visualization. Click for more detail.

hexDS
CarSim DS with hexapod driving simulator. Click for more detail.

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and VehicleSim are registered trademarks of Mechanical Simulation Corporation in the USA and other countries.