Procedural Generation of a 3D Terrain Model Based on a Predefined Road Mesh

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för data- och informationsteknik

Abstract: This thesis studies procedural generation as a method for generating a realistic terrain model, that will beused as a part of a virtual environment for testing the cameras of autonomous vehicles. The project wasdone in collaboration with Volvo Cars, and resulted in software that was able to generate a terrain modelwith only a mesh representing a road as input according to the customer’s requirements.Specifically, the purpose of the thesis was to develop software that was able to fit the generated terrainmodel to a road, place ditches alongside it, make the terrain model surrounding the road resemble a hillylandscape, and decide what type of terrain each mesh should represent. The functionality to base the lookof the terrain model on real world height data was also implemented.Radial basis function interpolation was used to fit the terrain model to the road, and Perlin noise, Simplexnoise, and Worley noise were used to modify the topography of the terrain model. The ditches were createdby projecting parts of the terrain model to fit a cylindrical shape, and the type of terrain a mesh shouldrepresent is based on the distance between the mesh and the road.The end result shows that it is possible to use procedural generation to create realistic terrain models, andthe generated models can be used as a part of virtual testing environments. However, the software is morea proof of concept than a finished solution, and there are several areas in need of improvement such asimplementing support for more terrain types, being able to use more than one noise map, and improvinghow the ditches interact with noise.For future research Volvo Cars has expressed interest in expanding the scope of the product to allow forgeneration of suburban areas, as well as mountains and include support for tunnels.

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