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Systems of Systems & Integration

Annual Plan

Modular Closed-loop, Real-time, Physics-based Software Simulator for Unmanned Ground Vehicles in Unstructured Terrain Environments

Project Summary

Principal Investigator

  • Vladimir Vantsevich (PI), Sam Misko (co-I), University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
  • Tulga Ersal (ci-PI), University of Michigan


  • James Michael Brascome, Nicholas Bowen, Andres Morales, Eva Dennis, UAB


  • Jordan Whitson (DoD SMART program), UAB


  • Paramsothy Jayakumar, US Army GVSC


  • Arnold Free, Traxara Robotics
  • Torsten Kluge, dSPACE GmbH

Project began Q4 2022.

To realize the full potential of simulation-based evaluation and validation of autonomous ground vehicle systems on unstructured off-road terrain, the next generation of modeling and simulation (M&S) solutions must provide real-time, closed-loop environments that feature the latest physics-based modeling approaches and simulation solvers.

This project aims to address basic research problems to support the implementation of the concept of the co-simulation environment and to realize the concept in a computational tool. The two major fundamental research problems are listed below:

  1. Quantification and Minimization of Error and Error Propagation for Real-time UGV Co-simulation Models.
  2. Quantification and Runtime Monitoring and Minimization of Error for Real-time UGV Co-simulation Frameworks

Based on the above-formulated two major fundamental problems, the goal of the proposed project is to

  1. Devise mathematical techniques (i) to assess the sensitivity of each mathematical model (i.e., each module that represents either a physical or cyber-system in the framework in Fig.1) to its complexity and contribution to the total error of the final outcomes of the entire co-simulation and (ii) to minimize this error for the purpose of achieving a given/reasonable accuracy of the co- simulation process,
  2. Design computational techniques that allow for co-simulating all modular software components, which run in parallel and/or in sequence with each other, while managing and demonstrating certain characteristics of real-time simulation of the entire system given by the framework in Fig. 1,
  3. Using the above-introduced mathematical and computational techniques, design a set of computational tools that allow for both maintaining the given/reasonable accuracy at minimal errors of the final outcomes and providing real-time characteristics of co-simulations,
  4. Design and build a prototype system to illustrate the efficiency of the proposed computational tools to co-simulate the framework in real-time operations with the given/reasonable accuracy.