This paper describes a modeling, simulation, and visualization framework aimed at enabling physics-based analysis of ground vehicle mobility. This framework, called Chrono, has been built to leverage parallel computing both on distributed and shared memory architectures. Chrono is both modular and extensible. Modularity stems from the design decision to build vertical applications whose goal is to reduce the end-to-end time from vision-to-model-to-solution-to-visualization for a targeted application field. The extensibility is a consequence of the design of the foundation modules, which can be enhanced with new features that benefit all the vertical applications. Two factors motivated the development of Chrono. First, there is a manifest need of modeling approaches and simulation tools to support mobility analysis on deformable terrain. Second, the hardware available today has improved to a point where the amount of sheer computer power, the memory size, and the available software stack (productivity tools and programming languages) support computing on a scale that allows integrating highly accurate vehicle dynamics and physics-based terramechanics models. Although commercial software is available nowadays for simulating vehicle and tire models that operate on paved roads; deformable terrain models that complement the fidelity of present day vehicle and tire models have been lacking due to the complexity of soil behavior. This paper demonstrates Chrono’s ability to handle these difficult mobility situations through several simulations, including: (i) urban operations, (ii) muddy terrain operations, (iii) gravel slope operations, and (iv) river fording.

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