LucidDrive: Night Driving Simulation

LucidDrive is a standalone night driving simulation tool. It makes use of the latest modern graphics hardware technology to show almost photorealistic lighting scenes in real time. The primary function of LucidDrive is to evaluate beam patterns of vehicle headlamps under conditions as realistic as possible. It is an ideal software tool to provide virtual reality simulations prior to expensive fabrication and testing.

Key Features


AFS Masking PixelLight Feature

The LucidDrive AFS Masking PixelLight feature simulates pixel light technology by detecting oncoming and overtaking traffic, calculating bounding boxes and creating user-definable shadow masks in headlamp light distributions. These functions are useful for automotive designers in both development and testing phases of pixel light systems.

Beam Pattern Analysis

Beam Pattern Analysis

You can switch between various sets of headlamps to verify the differences in resulting beam patterns. For example, the headlamp sets can be a combination of left- and right-aimed low beam lamps. Any number of headlamps with different aiming positions can be combined and mounted on the car. Distance marker lines on the road are included to provide visibility targets for benchmarking. In the example shown to the left, you can see the aiming wall with ECE-Markers. This wall can be displayed at any time during the drive simulation.

Multi View

Multi View

LucidDrive provides a multi-view drive capability to enable you to compare and troubleshoot the resulting beam patterns. For example, direct comparison between Halogen and Xenon headlamps with different color temperatures can be achieved with LucidDrive very easily. If the luminous intensity distribution (LID) was rendered spectrally by LucidShape, color borders of dispersions by lenses can be seen on the street.

AFS - Adaptive Front Lighting System

AFS - Adaptive Front Lighting System

AFS headlamps are among the most challenging innovations in automotive lighting. Several approaches are being developed to accomplish the specifications. Therefore, LucidShape is able to simulate AFS in different ways. Depending on the computer hardware, you are able to simulate up to 30 light distributions simultaneously. Further developments in graphics cards will make even more possible. Other modern lighting models, such as daytime lights, can be simulated as well.

Real Time

Real Time

LucidDrive runs in an automatic driving mode. You can quickly switch between different lamps, viewing positions, road types and scenes during a simulation, thus receiving immediate interactive feedback. With the Wheels and Pedals add-on, you are able to control vehicle movements with a steering wheel, with gas pedals attached.

Custom Roads

Custom Roads

LucidDrive comes with a large selection of road scenes and the ability to create new courses with the Road Editor tool by simply editing the track as a sequence of points. Based on a polygonal sequence and additional road information (e.g., “four lane highway” or “country side road”) that you can select from a broad variety of road types, the software will create a continuous, curved road. The created curves adhere to the mathematical form of a clothoid curve. Additionally, you can add overhead signs, normal signs, trees, poles and other objects to the road. 

Video Export

Video Export

During the drive simulation, all video frames can be automatically exported as bitmaps and in a subsequent process merged into a movie. You can play the video in real time on every computer without having LucidDrive installed and show your customers the advantages of your products. You’ll find example videos on our product literature and demos page.

Advanced Graphics

Advanced Graphics

LucidDrive features photorealistic and texture-based graphics. It uses a complex mathematical model to convert realistic physical models into graphics. The LucidDrive model takes into account surface properties, such as reflectivity of the street pavement and the scenery (trees, roadside markers and traffic signs). The photorealistic appearance is accomplished by using textures and latest hardware shading technology. LucidDrive is optimized to run best with NVIDIA graphics cards. See the LucidDrive system requirements for details.


Traffic Simulation

The Traffic Simulation feature provides realistic simulations of headlight response to dynamic traffic and road conditions:

  • High-accuracy calculations of traffic flows and patterns based on an intelligent driver model
  • User-defined parameters, such as vehicle speed, acceleration, deceleration and braking capabilities
  • Automatic lane changing maneuvers
  • Support for LucidDrive scripting to program customized vehicle behaviors

LucidDrive Manual: The Single Computer Solution

LucidDrive Manual (LucidDriveM) is a night driving simulation tool featuring an automatic driving mode for optimal headlamp evaluations. With some extensions,you may also manually drive the virtual vehicle through the night scene. The system is scalable from a low-cost, single computer system driven by popular gaming tools to a multi-computer system equipped with a real-life vehicle chassis and control units for vehicle dynamics or AFS control.

A Wheels and Pedals add-on module converts LucidDrive into a LucidDriveM version. The software interface translates your steering and throttle operations to a correlative driving motion, still allowing you to toggle between automatic and manual drive. Any off-the-shelf, plug-and-play hardware for car racing may be attached to the computer.

Development of AFS dynamics

A vehicle's adaptive front lighting system (AFS) is controlled by electronic control units (ECUs). The development of such ECUs is usually supported by rapid control prototyping (RCP) systems like Matlab/SimulinkTM or CamelViewTM, enabling the AFS logic to be defined via block diagrams and exported. The export may either go directly to the ECU hardware, or  to  a piece of software which can be plugged into LucidDrive to replace the default AFS control. Thus, the AFS control logic originally designed to operate with the real ECU may be used as a simulation module for LucidDrive.

Customized vehicle dynamics

A realistic simulation of physical vehicle dynamics like a car's braking/acceleration pitch or curve rolling may be very helpful when evaluating headlamps. Similar to AFS logic development, the creation of such vehicle dynamics modules may be supported by RCP tools as well. And again, these modules can be exported to LucidDrive to replace LucidDrive's default vehicle dynamics module. In a similar way, a very realistic motion of motorcycles may be achieved in LucidDrive.

Script programming for dynamics If no RCP is available for the definition of vehicle dynamics or the AFS logic, LucidShell scripts may be plugged into LucidDrive as well.

A LucidDriveM setup consists of:

  1. Base system
  2. Wheels and pedals interface
  3. Vehicle dynamics module
  4. AFS control unit

LucidDrive ServerClient: The Multiple Computer Solution

LucidDrive's Server/Client System (LucidDriveSC) allows the driving scene view to be split and displayed on multiple monitors, with up to a 360° multi-view on a ring arrangement of monitors around the driver.

Every monitor in such a network is driven by its own computer, each running a LucidDrive client session. All client sessions are controlled by a central LucidDrive server session, which runs on an extra computer.


Several third-party vendors provide very advanced driving cockpits, up to real-life vehicle chassis prepared for use in conjunction with driving simulators. Such systems may be turned into a LucidDrive night drive simulator.

We recommend that you equip each client machine in the network with a high-end graphics card. The number of client computers (= the number of monitors) is variable and bounded only by the server's power. Up to eight clients are feasible with today's high-end PCs running Microsoft Windows.

A LucidDriveSC setup consists of:

1. Base system
2. Server module
3. Client modules
4. Wheels and pedals interface
5. Vehicle dynamics module
6. AFS control unit