The soil contact model (SCM) is widely used in practice for off-road wheeled vehicle mobility studies when simulation speed is important and highly accurate results are not a main concern. In practice, the SCM parameters are obtained via a bevameter test, which requires a complex apparatus and experimental procedure. Here, we advance the idea of running a virtual bevameter test using a high-fidelity terramechanics simulation. The latter employs the “continuous representation model” (CRM), which regards the deformable terrain as an elasto-plastic continuum that is spatially discretized using the smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) method. The approach embraced is as follows: a virtual bevameter test is run in simulation using CRM terrain to generate “ground truth” data; in a Bayesian framework, this data is subsequently used to calibrate the SCM terrain. We show that (i) the resulting SCM terrain, while leading to fast terramechanics simulations, serves as a good proxy for the more complex CRM terrain; and (ii) the SCM-over-CRM simulation speedup is roughly one order of magnitude. These conclusions are reached in conjunction with two tests: a single wheel test, and a full rover simulation. The SCM and CRM simulations are run in an open-source software called Chrono. The calibration is performed using PyMC, which is a Python package that interactively communicates with Chrono to calibrate SCM. The models and scripts used in this contribution are available as open source for unfettered use and distribution in a public repository.
D Negrut, W Hu, P Li, HM Unjhawala, R Serban