Grand Theft Auto 5 is being used to teach driverless cars

It’s “the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from.”

By Jeffrey MatulefPublished 17/04/2017

Grand Theft Auto 5 is being used as a simulation to test the AI of driverless cars.

As reported by Bloomberg, Rockstar’s silly sandbox game happens to provide the best simulation we have at the moment. After all, it consists of 262 vehicles, 14 weather conditions, over a thousand unpredictable NPCs roaming about, along with plenty of bridges, tunnels and traffic signals.

According to Princeton University professor of operations research and financial engineering Alain Kornhauser, GTA5 is “the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from.”

While using a video game to train the AI of semi-sentient vehicles may seem outlandish, it’s safer than testing them in the real world, plus it offers engineers greater control over testing each variable. A simulation is a more controlled environment, after all, which is important for running experiments.

“Just relying on data from the roads is not practical,” said head of self-driving car startup Nio, Davide Bacchet. “With simulation, you can run the same scenario over and over again for infinite times, then test it again.”

Indeed, it’s best for engineers to test self-driving cars under the most hazardous of conditions, and what could be worse than this:

But hey, if a driverless car knows how to safely navigate this mess, that bodes well for it.

Buy Grand Theft Auto 5 from Amazon

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