Mechanical SimulationCorporation

Features of CarSim

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What CarSim Does

CarSim simulates steering and braking maneuvers on the computer, producing the same kinds of outputs that might be measured with physical tests involving an instrumented vehicle. It can be used to evaluate the braking and handling performance of vehicle and/or component designs.

With CarSim, you work in the same way that you would approach a vehicle dynamics project with actual hardware. First, you specify the vehicle to test, including the selection of components (springs, tires, etc.) that would be installed. Then, you design a test maneuver that will produce the type of behavior to be analyzed. In lieu of the physical "test," you run the simulation program and time histories of all the relevant variables are recorded in output files. You can examine the results from the output files through animation or by viewing engineering plots of motions, forces, etc.

The basic operation of CarSim involves the following sequence:

  1. As required, modify the vehicle parameters (dimensions, mass properties, etc.) and the parameters (dimensions, stiffness coefficients, etc.) of the components (brake system, steering system, shock absorbers, springs, etc.).
  2. Specify the control inputs for steering, braking, and throttle.
  3. Run the simulation.
  4. Animate the simulation output to get an overall view of the vehicle behavior.
  5. Make plots to analyze the resultant behavior in more detail.
With practice, you will be able to quickly and easily evaluate how component and vehicle designs affect critical aspects of behavior such as braking performance, understeer, and transient response.

Overview of CarSim Operation

How CarSim Works

CarSim includes a data base with vehicle data, simulation data, and control input data. The information in this data base is presented through a collection of data screens. Data screens are used for these purposes: CarSim combines information from the data screens with vehicle dynamics programs to simulate the vehicle behavior. CarSim also links the simulation results with animation and plotting programs.  The entire package is made up of four tightly integrated types of software, shown schematically  in the figure above and described below.
  1. Data screens serve as your primary interface to CarSim. They contain vehicle model parameters, control inputs, and run settings. The data screens are part of a data base that maintains libraries of related data sets.
  2. Simulation programs numerically solve equations of motion (i.e., mathematical vehicle models) to calculate output variables. The process of performing these calculations is called making a "simulation run" or simply a "run."
  3. An animator shows the computed vehicle motions using wire-frame shapes. You can view the simulated motions, zoom in and out with a simulated camera, and interactively move around the simulated vehicle to change your point of view.
  4. The Windows Engineering Plotter (WinEP) creates plots of vehicle variables as functions of time or as cross plots of output variables. Use this tool to view any of the hundreds of variables computed by the simulation models. You can plot any combination of variables, and overlay plots from different runs.


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