Basic Rules

Specification format

The Vehicle Signal Specification domain specification consist of vspec files. vspec files are YAML files following the rule set defined for VSS. They also support the use of include directives to refer to other vspec files, much like #include in C/C++. . Please note that, from a YAML perspective, the include directive is just another comment.

The file VehicleSignalSpecification.vspec serves as root and includes other vspec files from the VSS repository.

The raw specification files can, with help of tools in the vss-tools repository, be converted to other formats that are more user friendly to read. Converted representations are also included as release artifacts for each VSS release.

VSS is in itself case sensitive. This means that keywords, signal names, types and values normally shall be given with the case specified. It is however recommended not to take advantage of this and reuse the same name with different case, as some implementations may treat VSS identifiers as case insensitive.

Addressing Nodes

VSS supports only a single tree, that means that all signals must belong to the same root. In the VSS standard catalog the root branch is called Vehicle, so all signals must be part of the Vehicle tree.

Tree nodes are addressed, left-to-right, from the root of the tree toward the node itself. Each element in the name is delimited with a period ("."). The element hops from the root to the leaf is called path

For example, the dimming status of the rearview mirror in the cabin is addressed:


If there are an array of elements, such as door rows 1-3, they will be addressed with an index branch:




In a similar fashion, seats are located by row and their left-to-right position.

Vehicle.Cabin.Seat.Row1.Pos1.IsBelted  # Left front seat
Vehicle.Cabin.Seat.Row1.Pos2.IsBelted  # Right front seat

Vehicle.Cabin.Seat.Row2.Pos1.IsBelted  # Left rear seat
Vehicle.Cabin.Seat.Row2.Pos2.IsBelted  # Middle rear seat
Vehicle.Cabin.Seat.Row2.Pos3.IsBelted  # Right rear seat

The exact use of PosX elements and how they correlate to actual positions in the car, is dependent on the actual vehicle using the spec.

Parent Nodes

If a new leaf node is defined, all parent branches included in its name must be included as well, as shown below:

[Signal] Vehicle.Cabin.Door.Row1.Left.IsLocked
[Branch] Vehicle.Cabin.Door.Row1.Left
[Branch] Vehicle.Cabin.Door.Row1
[Branch] Vehicle.Cabin.Door
[Branch] Vehicle.Cabin
[Branch] Vehicle

The branches do not have to be defined in any specific order as long as each branch component is defined somewhere in the vspec file (or an included vspec file).

Deprecation since version 2.1

During the process of model development, nodes might be moved or deleted. Giving developers a chance to adopt to the changes, the original nodes are marked as deprecated with the following rules.

  • Nodes, which are moved in the tree or are intended to be removed from the specification are marked with the deprecation keyword.
  • The string following the deprecation keyword shall start with the version, when the node was deprecated starting with V (e.g. V2.1) followed by the reason for deprecation.
  • If the node was moved, it shall be indicated by moved to followed by the new node name in dot notation as deprecation reason. This keyword shall be used only if the meta-data of the moved node hasn’t changed.
  • If the node is intended to be removed from the specification or the meta data changed, it shall be indicated by removed and optionally the reason for the removal as deprecation reason.
  • Nodes which are deprecated will be removed from the specification, either in the second minor update or, if earlier, the next major update.


  type: branch
  description: The current latitude and longitude of the vehicle.
  deprecation: V2.1 moved to Vehicle.CurrentLocation

It is recommended for servers, which are implementing protocols for the vehicle signal specification, to serve old and new nodes during the deprecation period described above.

Style Guide

The VSS specification must adhere to YAML syntax. To keep the standardized VSS specification in this repository consistent the following style guide is provided.

Naming Conventions

Node names in VSS must follow the restrictions specified in Yaml i.e. must only use the printable subset of the Unicode character set.

Tools and Generators supporting VSS may however put additional restrictions on which characters that are allowed. For maximum portability, node names in the VSS standard catalog must fulfill the following rules

  • Node names in the VSS standard catalog shall use camel case notation starting with a capital letter.
  • Node names in the VSS standard catalog shall use only A-Z, a-z and 0-9 in node names.
  • Boolean signals must start with Is.
  • Node names are case insensitive for comparison operations, therefore the full path of node names must be unique e.g. Vehicle.Abc and Vehicle.ABC are the same in comparison and therefore the presence of both is prohibited.



Naming convention for string literals can be found in the chapterfor specifying allowed values.

Line Length

It is recommended that line length for files in this repository ( e.g. *.vspec and *.md files) shall not exceed 120 characters. This is not a strict limit, it is e.g. not recommended to split long URLs over multiple lines.