Unreal as a simulation environment for off-road autonomy

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Computer Science; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


We describe contributions made to the Unreal gaming engine community supporting our development of algorithms that enable navigation in off-road and unstructured environments. Simulation of autonomous ground vehicles traversing complex 3D terrain requires accurate modeling of vehicle-terrain interaction. Widely used community gaming engines model this interaction well but do not include sensor model and other features found in open source tools. We have extended the Unreal engine to include models for LiDARs, IMU, and GNSS systems that are compatible with the Robot Operating System middle-ware. We have also added features that allow for the automated testing of off-road navigation algorithms.

Publisher's Statement

© 2020 SPIE. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2559006

Publication Title

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering