Simulating Driving on Other Planets

by Paul Strauss
Simulating Driving on Other Planetszoom in

These days, automakers use virtual reality and simulation software to figure out everything from ergonomics and aesthetics to visibility. Car companies also use things like wind tunnels to simulate drag, and treadmills to test wear and tear. But one thing that’s not part of modern vehicle testing is seeing how they might behave with different amounts of gravity. Well, with the help of vehicle simulator BeamNG.drive, it’s totally possible.

The simulator offers up what appear to be very lifelike physics, showing how materials deform in a crash, and how vehicles might react to various terrain, weather, and driving situations. Science vlog The Action Lab posted a video called “What It’s Like to Drive on Other Planets,” in which they used the software to see how vehicles would behave when subjected to the gravity amounts from different planets.

Since BeamNG offers adjustable gravity, it’s easy to see what might happen as vehicles encounter the low gravity environment of the Moon, the powerful gravity of Jupiter, and everything in-between. It’s quite a novelty to see the impact that gravitational forces have on traction, downforce, and suspension dynamics. Spontaneously crushing cars with solar gravity looks like fun too.

If you want to play with cars and gravity for yourself, you can pick up BeamNG.drive on Steam for $25.

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