Self-Driving Cars Learn From the Best: GTA V -

via Rockstar Games

There are many life lessons to learn from Grand Theft Auto V. Most notably: How to pull off a successful heist while under pressure from a government agency.

Or how to avoid a mattress falling off a truck on the freeway.

The latter, according to Bloomberg, is just one of the in-game scenarios being used by researchers and engineers to train autonomous vehicle technology.

That’s right: Your self-driving car is taking cues from a system that rewards violent joyrides and police evasion.

As Bloomberg pointed out, manufacturers need to start relying more on these types of endless simulators in order to meet their daunting autonomous-tech deadlines.

Scientists at Germany’s Darmstadt University and Intel Labs discovered that last year when they partnered to create a new method for sourcing visual data from GTA, which can be fed to computers to teach vehicles how to drive independently.

“Just relying on data from the roads is not practical,” Davide Bacchet, head of simulation at startup NIO—which plans to release its first autonomous electric vehicles in the US in 2020—told Bloomberg. “With simulation, you can run the same scenario over and over again for infinite times, then test it again.”

Boasting more than 260 types of vehicles, 1,000-plus unpredictable pedestrians and animals, 14 different weather conditions, and a myriad of bridges, traffic signals, tunnels, and intersections—i.e. real-life circumstances—Grand Theft Auto V is the ideal fictional world for self-driving lessons.

The game provides “the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from,” Princeton University professor and advisor to the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering team, Alain Kornhauser, said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Self-driving car development company Waymo has already realized the benefits of always-on software, which can simulate driving more than 3 million miles in one day.

At the Toyota Research Institute in California, engineers try to “break the system,” Bloomberg reported, using the Quick Brown Fox test: running endlessly in the most challenging weather and traffic conditions.

Self-Driving Cars Learn From the Best: GTA V –


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