This paper presents concepts involved in the theory and implementation of a vehicle body and suspension modeling tool as part of the software development for the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS). The NADS will be a state-of-the-art, operator-in-the-loop ground vehicle simulator, which can be applied to both human factors and vehicle virtual prototyping studies. By applying the modeling tool developed in this study, vehicle kinematic models can be easily created and tested, either using off-line engineering analysis packages or using operator-in-the-loop simulators, such as the NADS.

Vehicles are complex systems containing multiple bodies, joints and force generating elements. Manually modeling these systems for kinematic and/or dynamic analysis is tedious and prone to errors. This creates a need for a modeling tool which reduces modeling time, increases modeling accuracy and is easy to use. This paper discusses the concepts involved in developing a modeling tool for the topology analysis and assembly of the multibody vehicle model. Suspension system modeling is briefly described, along with an example employing the US Army HMMWV vehicle.

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