What is ANVEL?
ANVEL is an interactive, real-time engineering simulation tool
- Used to design, build, test, and debug intelligent ground vehicles
- Supports development of autonomy, semi-autonomy, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) functionalities
- Enables testing and characterization of algorithms, software, and subsystems in virtual environments
- Provides scenario-focused scripting and the ability to explore performance "edge cases"
- Integrates directly with algorithms, code, other packages and languages (e.g., python, C, C++, Matlab, etc.)
- Interfaces with external hardware and software systems to form flexible hardware in the loop and software in the loop combinations
- Provides scaleable fidelity that meets specific needs of the application
- Offers modular, sharable models of vehicles, sensors, and environments
Modeling and Simulation for Intelligent and Autonomous Vehicle Development
Virtual tools to help you build a better system
- It goes without saying that motorized ground transportation is going through a revolution. Whether it be getting to your local movie theater for a show, a truck delivering load of goods to a grocery store, getting around a campus or other urban area, or fighting a war on a battlefield, ground vehicles are very quickly evolving to become safer, more efficient, and more automated. Leveraging a combination of advanced computing, new sensors, complex algorithms, and more, these new “smart” vehicles are starting to make a huge impact in the ground vehicle space.
- But you know that already, because if you’re here looking at this website you’re probably part of a team of cutting-edge engineers and scientists working to bring these systems from sci-fi to reality! You also know the challenges you are facing, like:
- What is the best way to develop and test my software infrastructure before the hardware platform and components are available?
- How do I test autonomy algorithms on my office desktop, to ensure they are operational before installation on a live vehicle and real-world testing?
- How can I test and refine my ADAS functions and interfaces with human subjects in a logical, controlled fashion from the safety of an office?
- How do I test my sensor code to verify the interface provides the needed data, even when the sensor is back-ordered or otherwise unavailable for use?
- Provides scenario-focused scripting and the ability to explore performance 'edge cases'
- How can I perform exhaustive testing, including “crazy” edge cases, and gather performance data in an efficient, cost-effective fashion?
- These challenges, questions, and much more, are the heart of the intelligent vehicle development and testing challenge. Fortunately, ANVEL is here to help!
A wide array of user-friendly functions and tools
- ANVEL is a software tool built specifically to support the research, development, testing, and evaluation of intelligent and unmanned ground vehicle systems. ANVEL enables developers by helping them build, test, and refine their products in the virtual, providing an interactive desktop “sandbox.” Developers can quickly and easily construct virtual vehicle models; place virtual sensors onboard those models; connect sensing, perception, control algorithms, and code directly to the system; and perform testing in an almost infinite variety of virtual environments. ANVEL simplifies development and testing, and works with intelligent vehicle technology in the holistic manner that it truly requires. ANVEL helps teams developing ADAS functions, autonomous vehicles, and other ground robot systems get further, faster, and with more confidence.
- Some ANVEL features include:
- Real-time performance, facilitating interactive experiments with technologies such as teleoperation, shared control, and autonomous behaviors. ANVEL can also be run faster than real-time to facilitate larger-scale experimentation, and slower than real time to facilitate higher fidelity, more computationally intensive simulation components
- Inherently multi-fidelic, meaning that one can use higher fidelity simulation components in areas of deeper interest and lower fidelity components where there is less importance to yield a complete systemic simulation. The developer can choose the fidelity throughout, giving it the flexibility to address many challenges
- Quick and easy creation of virtual vehicle models of different design and architectures, using easy-to-edit XML files to define details (wheelbase, number of axles, CG position, etc.) and graphical models from common digital modeling tools. ANVEL includes a number of different pre-configured vehicles that can be used directly or “tweaked” to define a new vehicle
- Simple import, editing, and configuration of environments, including modifying terrain heights; changing terrain composition (grass, gravel, asphalt, etc.); and manual and procedural insertion/placement of objects. ANVEL supports almost any environment (rural, urban, etc.) and ships with a set of environments to facilitate quick start
- Virtual sensors and related subsystems can be attached to a virtual vehicle with point-and-click tools, and used as part of the overall simulation. ANVEL includes a set of sensor models (LIDARS, GPS, IMU, cameras, etc.) and is specifically designed to facilitate creation and incorporation of new ones. Sensor models can support by-wire accurate representations of protocols
- Ability to incorporate sensing, perception, and control algorithms/code and autonomy codebases, integrate them with the virtual vehicle/sensors/systems, and perform testing and experiments
- Instrumentation of variables and systems within the simulation, capturing performance data from anything within the vehicle or environment, allowing plotting (in real time) and export, as desired
- Support for virtual “actors” that interact with the system under test. Other virtual vehicles, humans, animals, and similar can be spawned in real time; follow paths or scripts; respond to triggering events; change behaviors, etc
- Interface with and support for interactions with other external systems via the External Application Program Interface (API). The External API provides the ability to programmatically query, configure, or control anything within the ANVEL simulation, which enables a world of possibilities for testing and validation. ANVEL’s external API supports numerous common languages, including Matlab, C, C++, and Python.
- These are a small subset of ANVEL capabilities, which are growing to support the expanding ANVEL community and breadth of applications. We at Quantum Signal use ANVEL to develop a host of technologies and systems for manned and unmanned ground vehicle development, as do hundreds of our users throughout the US and around the world.
- If you are involved in intelligent ground vehicle development, you will love ANVEL! Why not register for an account?
What Challenges Can ANVEL Help Address?
ANVEL spans the entire systems engineering process
- ANVEL began life supporting military efforts developing and testing unmanned ground vehicles in complex, challenging off-road environments. Since those early days, ANVEL has grown and evolved into a substantial, real-time, mixed-fidelity, highly-flexible tool that supports a wide variety of modeling and simulation capabilities for intelligent ground vehicles. This growth has come out of both design and necessity; as the requirements and demand for intelligent ground vehicles have increased, so too has the need for M&S capability to support this growth. ANVEL has been, and is being, used to address areas such as:
- Exploration of concept of operation (CONOPS) for vehicle systems with different configurations operating in a variety of environments. Facilitating interactive exploration of CONOPS helps developers define and distill system requirements.
- Exploration, testing, and debugging of autonomy and related algorithms, including path planning; obstacle detection and avoidance; and discrete behaviors.
- Exploration, prototyping, and refinement of user interfaces. ANVEL acts as the virtual UGV while different designs for operator control units and user interfaces are tested with human operators. ADAS and related ground vehicle functionalities can be prototyped and tested using ANVEL.
- Testing and debugging of X-by-wire systems, sensor and actuator interfaces, autonomy controller boxes, and other subsystems to refine and tune their performance, individually or together as a system
- Development of hardware in the loop (HIL) and software in the loop (SIL) systems. Quantum Signal, the US Army, and others use ANVEL to connect real-time virtual components (vehicles, sensors, etc.) to real world components in various combinations to test software and algorithm systems and subsystems prior to deployment on live platforms
- Testing and characterization of the performance of the systems. This includes large scale, repeated testing of algorithms or software components while varying parameters within the simulation and generating outputs that can be further analyzed and leveraged.
- Exploration of multi-vehicle/convoy systems. Simulation of leader-follower behaviors and “platooning” are possible in ANVEL. Quantum Signal is working with the US Army to leverage this capability in multiple programs.
- The list above represents a small subset of the types of challenges ANVEL can - and has - been used to address. ANVEL can be used to support the development process throughout almost the entire systems engineering cycle, and opens up new possibilities in terms of formalized, systemic testing, characterization, and validation of performance.