The use of virtual prototyping early in the design stage of a product has gained popularity due to reduced cost and time to market. The state of the art in vehicle simulation has reached a level where full vehicles are analyzed through simulation but major difficulties continue to be present in interfacing the vehicle model with accurate powertrain models and in developing adequate formulations for the contact between tire and terrain (specifically, scenarios such as tire sliding on ice and rolling on sand or other very deformable surfaces). The proposed work focuses on developing a ground vehicle simulation capability by combining several third party packages for vehicle simulation, tire simulation, and powertrain simulation. The long-term goal of this project is to promote the Digital Car idea through the development of a reliable and robust simulation capability that will enhance the understanding and control of off-road vehicle performance. To this end we concentrate our attention on two main aspects: (1) development of a family of tire and contact models suitable for simulations ranging from high accuracy to real time for on/off-road conditions and extreme environments, and (2) investigation of co-simulation techniques suitable from a numerical standpoint to support long simulations of heterogeneous models that contain vehicle, tire, terrain, powertrain, and controls subsystems.

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