Sensor Simulation

Highly accurate environmental sensor simulation

Autonomous vehicles accurately find their way with the aid of sensors. To ensure this in every possible situation, vehicles, controllers, and sensors are efficiently validated at early development stages: they are tested in virtual test drives with an immense variety of test cases. dSPACE precisely addresses this requirement by offering “Sensor Simulation” a unique and complete solution based on simulating a sensor’s physical phenomena and properties.


  • Simulation of the physical phenomena and properties of a sensor
  • Radar, lidar, and camera sensors
  • Virtual test drives with autonomous vehicles

    Realistic Sensor Models

     Sensor Simulation contains models that create a virtual 3-D world to represent real objects in the surroundings of the vehicle. It also provides models of camera, radar, and lidar sensors to simulate the perception of this world. For this purpose, the model types simulate two essential aspects:

    • Sensor front end: The front end is the detection component of a sensor. In cameras, these are the lens and the analog-digital image converter. A radar front end model contains the signal modulation and the antenna pattern, for example. Whereas a lidar front end consists of the laser and LED characteristics as well as the composition of the photodetectors (receiving LEDs).
    • Sensor environment: The environment model follows the physical laws of signal propagation affected by material properties, and channel attenuation. It can simulate all details of the environment that can be detected by the relevant sensor. These include fellow vehicles, roads, traffic signs, roadside structures, etc.

    The sensor models provide sensor-realistic simulation data that can be used to validate functions for autonomous driving or a subset of them, such as data fusion or object detection. For best performance, the sensor models can be executed on platforms, such as the Sensor Simulation PC, which is equipped with powerful graphics processor units (GPU).

     Seamless Simulation

    Sensor Simulation supports the reuse of models and test scenarios on different platforms. Therefore, tests created and used on the developer’s PC can be performed on a simulator or in the cloud and vice versa. This enables easy and fast scaling of parallelized tests. The entire validation process from software-in-the-loop (SIL) simulation to hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation is supported. This enables versatile test methods with real and virtual ECUs or sensors.

    Flexible Integration

    Sensor Simulation provides flexibility via an application programming interface (API) to support customized solutions. The online postprocessing API is an efficient means of implementing sensor specific extensions directly in the product. It can be used for adapting the output format or integrating a sensor model of the sensor supplier, for example. The resulting custom code is executed on the GPU during the overall process. Therefore, you can use the same code in SIL and HIL domains.

    Our Technical Sales staff will assist you in choosing your dSPACE system. They also provide with quotations and information about other dSPACE products.