Monday, February 26, 2024

Exciting features coming soon for miniSim users

A few major upgrades to the miniSim system are in the works and will be available soon to miniSim users:

  1. Enhanced rendering capabilities using Unreal Engine, a game engine that will provide more true-to-life rendering of our virtual environments. Advanced light and surface interactions such as reflections, highlights, and shadows will be possible, along with improvements to particulate effects such as rain, snow, fog, and smoke.
  2. Connected simulation: Multiple drivers using connected miniSims will be able to interact in the same virtual environment.
  3. New capability to customize instrument panels and a new heavy truck instrument panel with digital speedometer.

    A miniSim heavy truck cab at the University of Toronto
    A newly designed heavy truck cab for the University of Toronto was delivered in October 2023, pictured here.
    The close up of a wheel of a heavy truck miniSim cab
    This is a heavy truck quarter cab with a steering wheel and column from a real Class 8 Peterbilt cab, and it features a motion base, truck seat, and a new dashboard design. 
    A close up of parking brake and trailer air supply knobs on a heavy truck miniSim
    This is our first truck miniSim with both manual and automatic transmission options, and it supports DSRI AutoDriver (our vehicle automation software), including adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.

More updates to our virtual worlds

Unreal Engine

Our team is working on converting the elements of our virtual environments to be compatible with Unreal Engine. Shown below is a birds-eye view of one of our tile environments in Unreal Engine.

Birds eye view of an Unreal Engine scenario of a school

Diverging diamond interchanges

Diverging diamond interchanges are popping up across the country, including in our city near DSRI. So two of our team members—visiting scholar Stefan Plaettner and engineering coordinator Shawn Allen—created a simulated diverging diamond interchange to be used in Unreal Engine (screenshots shown below).

Birds eye view of a diverging diamond interchange.
Street view of a diverging diamond interchange


Railroad crossings

Two types of railroad gate crossings are now available to add to your simulation on miniSim.

A railroad gate crossing

This article originally appeared in the 2023 DSRI Year in Review.