NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation™ is a cloud-based virtual reality simulation platform, designed to support the development and validation of autonomous vehicles.

The platform is a data center solution, comprised of two side-by-side servers:

The first server; DRIVE Constellation Simulator, uses NVIDIA GPUs running DRIVE Sim software to simulate the virtual world. The simulator generates the sensor output from the virtual car driving in a virtual world.

The second server; DRIVE Constellation Vehicle, contains the DRIVE AGX Pegasus AI car computer running the complete AV software stack to process the simulated sensor data.

The driving decisions from DRIVE Constellation Vehicle are fed back into DRIVE Constellation Simulator, enabling bit-accurate hardware-in-the-loop testing.

DRIVE Constellation Simulator on the left and
DRIVE Constellation Vehicle on the right

DRIVE Constellation Benefits

  • Scalable Solution: DRIVE Constellation is a scalable platform. It is designed to be deployed at scale in data centers. This scale will allow millions of miles of testing and validation. The more Constellations vehicles are deployed in the cloud, the more miles we can drive per year
  • Highest fidelity: The DRIVE Constellation simulation platform is the most accurate representation of the autonomous vehicle in the real world. It’s bit accurate and timing accurate
  • Simulate Rare and difficult conditions: With the ability to control traffic and testing environment, developers can hone in on particularly rare and difficult conditions without endangering the actual vehicle and vehicle occupants. These include extreme weather, difficult lighting, and dangerous maneuvers from surrounding vehicles
  • Scenario-based testing: Rather than drive thousands of miles waiting for new and significant traffic situations, DRIVE Constellation makes it possible for the vehicle to constantly encounter learning moments, and test them over and over again

Tests in a simulation are repeatable and focus on critical cases that are rare and difficult to reproduce in the real world. Driving just a mile in a simulation can generate more experience than cruising an actual highway for hundreds of miles.


How it all comes together

Autonomous vehicle application development starts on DRIVE AGX Development Platform, followed by validation of the software algorithms on DRIVE Constellation. After sufficient validation, the software is deployed for on-road testing using DRIVE Hyperion reference architecture. This process is iterated several times to improve performance.

DRIVE Constellation Architecture

NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation components:

  • DRIVE Sim is the simulation software that provides a rich 3D environment for virtual testing. As vehicles are testing in DRIVE Sim, sensor data is generated for cameras, radars, lidars, etc, which is sent to the AV software stack under test. The AV stack then returns control signals to operate the virtual vehicle in sim. DRIVE Sim is a designed as an open platform that allows custom components to be plugged in for vehicle dyanmics, sensor models, scenarios, etc.

  • DRIVE Constellation Simulator is a powerful GPU server that has the capability to run DRIVE Sim and generate data for multiple sensors in real-time with precise timing. Data generated on the DRIVE Constellation Simulator is sent to the AV software running on the AV hardware in the DRIVE Constellation Vehicle.

  • DRIVE Constellation Vehicle is a datacenter server that houses the in-vehicle AV hardware and AV software. It shares high-speed data connections with the DRIVE Constellation simulator to receive all of the data generated with low latency. Timing between the two systems is tightly controlle

DRIVE Sim - an open software platform for DRIVE Constellation

DRIVE Sim includes plugins for the following components:

Environment model:

  • Provides the DRIVE Constellation vehicle a synthetic 3D representation of the environment.
  • Includes a 3D map and detailed assets that make the environment realistic for the vehicle sensors.

Sensor models:

  • Simulate how the actual sensors on the car capture the world. Sensor models include cameras, lidars, radars and IMU.
  • Receive information about the state of the world from DRIVE Constellation Simulator, process the data, and then send sensor information to DRIVE Constellation Vehicle in the same way the actual sensor would perform.

Vehicle (dynamics) model:

  • Simulates motion of the vehicle in response to control inputs and world conditions.
  • DRIVE Sim provides steering, control, friction coefficient. The model sends back the vehicle position and orientation, and vehicle state.

Traffic model:

  • Simulates traffic behavior at a micro and macro level.
  • Captures the behavior of all external actors on the road, and enables scriptable control over their dynamic behavior.
  • By introducing external, independent actors, the vehicle can be tested and validated in unknown or unexpected traffic scenarios

Scenario model:

  • Defines the behavior of the dynamic agents in the scene.
  • Scripts the actions of the ego vehicle and the actions of other vehicles/pedestrians for a scenario test. Plugins are available to generate new scenarios programmatically.

DRIVE Constellation is an open platform. Companies in the DRIVE Sim ecosystem can connect to the DRIVE Sim platform by using software modules or providing assets compatible with DRIVE Sim plugins. This allows developers to customize modules and get the exact setup they require for their needs.

DRIVE Sim In Action

The flexible, open DRIVE Constellation platform enables developers to design and implement detailed simulations for vehicle testing and validation. Engineers can recreate a vehicle’s sensor structure, positioning, and traffic scenario to test in a variety of road and weather conditions for the development of safe autonomous vehicles.

Developing with DRIVE Sim

How to get it

Learn more about using DRIVE Constellation to validate your AV algorithms and applications by contacting your NVIDIA representative or filling out this form.

If you are a supplier of environment, traffic, vehicle, scenario or sensor model and wish to plugin to DRIVE Sim, contact us.

Additional Development Resources: