In QLabs, an actor is any object that can be placed in the Open Worlds such as a camera, person, QCar, road signage, etc. Each actor class has different capabilities. For a full list of actors, see the Python Actors Reference for more details in controlling these actors in Python.

Actor Function

Each actor class has a series of functions that can be accessed with the container system using a fixed ID. The function ID’s are listed as constants in each of the actor classes.

Actor Number

Each actor of a specific class must have a unique actor number assigned to it so it can be addressed for further functionality or requesting information.

Ambient Occlusion

This is the darkening or shading that occurs in the corners of a room as it receives less direct and reflected light due to the proximity of another surface. This is a graphical feature used to increase realism.


The glow that appears around bright light sources. This is a graphical feature used to increase realism.

Class ID

Each actor type has a fixed Class ID which is used in the container system. See the actor definitions for the Class ID used.


Some actors have more than one 3D model or behavior that can set during spawning. For instance, the animal class has one configurations for each type of animal, but they all share the same functions of the animal class. See the configurations section under the Actors Reference to see all configurations a particular actor class.

Connection Points

Connection Points are reference frames on an actor that other actors can be attached to.


The communications framework to QLabs addresses each actor in the scene within a container. Each container holds the container size, class ID, actor number, actor function and a variable-length payload that depends on the specific function called.


Communication Per Second. A measurement of the number of communication packets the simulation is processing per second. Note that a single packet make contain one or more container so the packet composition must be considered when evaluating the communication efficiency.


Frames Per Second. This is an indication of your computer’s graphical performance. A minimum of 30 FPS will appear as a smooth animation.

Open World

In QLabs, an open world is a virtual world or map where the user can move freely and create and place objects to create custom scenarios. There are several different Open Worlds available in QLabs for different types of products. Please contact a Quanser representative to find out more.


Communication from external scripts or models to QLabs is done with TCP/IP communications. This form of communications is packet-based which means the information is bundled into chunks of data with a known format to facilitate the transmission from your model to QLabs whether that be on the same PC or a computer on the other side of the world. Each packet contains one or more “container” which further divides the data into messages for each actor.


The Quanser Virtual QCar is a fully instrumented, dynamically accurate digital twin of the Quanser QCar system. It behaves the same way as the physical hardware and can be measured and controlled using MATLAB/Simulink or Python development environments. It can enrich your lectures and activities in traditional labs, or bring credible, authentic, model-based lab experiences into your distance and online self-driving course. As with the physical QCar, the virtual system is a self-driving teaching and research platform complete with industrially relevant sensors such as LiDAR and RGB-D cameras. See more on our website.

Quanser Interactive Labs (QLabs)

QLabs or Quanser Interactive Labs is the virtual twin for Quanser’s hardware products. Using Quanser Interactive Labs, you get a collection of virtual hardware-based laboratory activities that supplement traditional or online courses. The virtual hardware is based on Quanser physical systems and offers credible, academically appropriate experiences on desktops, laptops, or smart devices. See more on our website .

Reference Frame

Reference Frames are used to specify the relationship between a moving observer and the phenomenon under observation. For instance, a robot arm would typically have a reference frame at each joint where the transformation from one reference frame to the next is determined by the joint rotations and translations.


The deflection of light as it passes through one medium to another. Materials such as glass require reflection and refraction to accurately recreate it, but it has a high computational cost to accurately reproduce.


The process of drawing an image on the screen.

Screen Percentage Scaling

Renders the image on the screen at a lower resolution than your monitor that scales the image up to fill the screen. This is a technique to improve rendering performance at the cost of making some details blurry in the scene.

Self-Driving Car Studio (SDCS)

The Self-Driving Car Studio is Quanser’s autonomous vehicle research and development platform.


Creating a new instance of an actor class is called spawning.


A single pixel of a texture map.

Texture Map

A 2D image that has been wrapped onto a 3D object. This is object used to project a greater level of detail onto a 3D surface with a lower computational cost that recreating the same details with geometry.


Widgets are a special class of highly performant actors. This allows thousands of dynamic widgets can be spawned in the Open World, but they have the restriction that widgets cannot be addressed after they have been spawned. Widgets are typically used as objects to be picked up, transported, or interacted with. All widgets simulate physics.


A workspace in QLabs is a specific virtual environment or lab module. This environment could either be an open world or a virtual lab space with a more focused purpose.