A Survey of Commercial & Open Source Unmanned Vehicle Simulators Conference Paper uri icon


  • This report presents a survey of computer based simulators for unmanned vehicles. The simulators examined cover a wide spectrum of vehicles including unmanned aerial vehicles, both full scale and micro size; unmanned surface and subsurface vehicles; and unmanned ground vehicles. The majority of simulators use simple numerical simulation and simplistic visualization using custom OpenGL code. An emerging trend is to used modified commercial game engines for physical simulation and visualization. The game engines that are commercially available today are capable of physical simulations providing basic physical properties and interactions between objects. Newer and/or specialized engines such as the flight simulator X-Plane or Ageia FhysX and Havok physics engines, are capable of simulating more complex physical interactions between objects. Researchers in need of a simulator have a choice of using game engines or available open source and commercially available simulators, allowing resources to be focused on research instead of building a new simulator. We conclude that it is no longer necessary to build a new simulator from scratch. © 2007 IEEE.

author list (cited authors)

  • Craighead, J., Murphy, R., Burke, J., & Goldiez, B.

citation count

  • 116

publication date

  • April 2007