Visual Terrain Simulation

Roles:  Programmer and Producer.

Tools:  Unreal Engine, Unity 3D.

Team: Sean Brice, Sam Collier, Matt Champer, Fuming Guo and Antonio Santos.

Our team has developed a terrain visualization and deformation prototype for construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. Caterpillar is currently developing remote and autonomous control systems to allow for the safe operation of heavy equipment in hazardous environments such as power plants and mine sites. Our project is a 3D visualization to assist remote operators and increase their situational awareness through realistic models of their equipment and the terrain.

To accomplish this task, our team has developed a terrain simulation system that utilizes data streams coming from the remote equipment to update the surface information. This simulation resembles the real terrain where the machinery operates with high level of detail. We have also added extra visualization data obtained by the built-in sensors, so the operators can accomplish their usual tasks in the safest way with technology as a helper instead of an obstacle.

Caterpillar and the ETC Heavy Metal 2.0 team’s primary goal is focusing on creating a realistic visualization of terrain material; specifically spillage from the bucket of Caterpillar’s MTLs (Multi-Terrain Loader). Caterpillar is most concerned with seeing three primary material types: overburden, spoil/tailings, and CA-6. Overburden is typically found at mine sites and contains soil with small to medium-sized rocks; spoil and tailings are very similar to overburden. CA-6 is a small gravel-like material that construction workers typically use for the base layer for asphalt.

Caterpillar and the Heavy Metal 2.0 team have been focusing on three primary deliverables: visualization of the MTL and the materials provided, a realistic simulation of the materials (how they fall and adjust due to force applied by Caterpillar machines), and a benefits report of varying GPUs and video game consoles as an outlet to run realistic simulations in an office environment.

Project website