Neya Systems, CARLA Collaborate to Update Open-Source Simulator to Unreal Engine 5

Transition to dramatically improve the modeling and simulation of autonomous systems 

PITTSBURGH – March 26Neya Systems, a leading provider of off-road autonomy, open architecture, and mission planning software, along with its parent company Applied Research Associates, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Embodied AI Foundation to update the CARLA simulator, an open-source simulator for autonomous driving research, to Unreal Engine 5, a powerful and widely used game development engine created by Epic Games. Updating CARLA to Unreal Engine 5 is needed to support ARA’s development of the Virtual Testbed for the DARPA Triage Challenge

CARLA, which was developed by the Computer Vision Center (CVC) in Spain and the Embodied AI Foundation in California, provides a realistic simulation environment that allows researchers and developers to test and train autonomous driving algorithms in a safe and controlled virtual environment.  Neya leverages the CARLA framework for stress testing the autonomy and control of its offroad vehicles in a virtual environment before moving to field testing. 

Unreal Engine 5 Teaser provided by CARLA

“CARLA’s advanced features and flexibility align perfectly with our commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the field of autonomy,” said Kurt Bruck, division manager, Neya Systems. “In addition, CARLA’s capability to simulate off-road environments allows us to explore and develop autonomous solutions that go beyond conventional paved road scenarios. Updating CARLA to Unreal Engine 5 will be a significant accomplishment for open-source simulation developers everywhere.” 

Unreal provides users with a comprehensive set of tools for the creation of high-quality video games, simulations, architectural visualization, virtual reality, and more.  The transition of CARLA from Unreal 4 to Unreal 5 is intended to dramatically improve the modeling and simulation of autonomous systems. Notable updates in Unreal 5 include the introduction of MetaHumans, which are hyper-realistic digital humans; advancements in the accuracy of simulated sensor models; and vastly enhanced speeds at which high-fidelity simulations can be executed using Nanite, Unreal Engine’s virtualized geometry system. ARA is leveraging these new capabilities for the DARPA Triage Challenge Virtual Testbed. 

“We are excited to announce our collaboration with Neya Systems on this key project. The transition of CARLA to Unreal Engine 5 marks a significant milestone for the autonomous systems community. This partnership will deliver an enhanced CARLA simulator, offering developers worldwide access to unparalleled simulation fidelity and advancing the capabilities of autonomous systems,” said German Ros, executive director of CARLA. 

The companies plan to release an initial update to CARLA in the summer of 2024, with additional updates to CARLA’s physics capabilities to follow in 2025. 

Download a video preview of Unreal Engine 5 here.


Neya Systems, a division of Applied Research Associates, is committed to advancing the field of unmanned systems through the development and integration of cutting-edge technologies and expertise in autonomy, computer vision, cybersecurity, and general unmanned systems development and deployment. Our team of experts is dedicated to creating innovative solutions that help our customers meet their mission goals. To learn more about Neya Systems, visit and follow us on LinkedIn.  

Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) was founded in 1979, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to offer science and engineering research to solve problems of national importance. ARA delivers leading-edge products and innovative solutions for national defense, energy, homeland security, aerospace, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing. With over 2,000 employee-owners at locations in the U.S. and Canada, ARA offers a broad range of technical expertise in defense technologies, civil engineering, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, biomedical engineering, environmental technologies, and blast testing and measurement. 

The Embodied AI Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on advancing transformative embodied AI technologies. They achieve this goal through open-source development initiatives encompassing software, hardware, and educational curricula. Notably, the foundation spearheads significant open-source projects like the CARLA simulator and Open3D, driving impactful advancements in the field. 

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