Grand Theft Auto 5 – a game whose title alone invites you disregard the rules of the road – is now being used to test the AI of driverless cars.
Bloomberg reports that Rockstar’s popular sandbox crime game actually hides one of the best driving simulators around, with 262 vehicles, 14 unqiue weather conditions and – most importantly – thousands of NPCs that react in unpredictable ways, along with bridges, traffic signals, and other drivers.
Princeton University professor of operations research and financial engineering Alain Kornhauser said that GTA 5 is ‘the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from.’
The idea seems crazy, but to be fair,the virtual world us a much safer place to test out the AI of driverless cars – I know I wouldn’t want one driving down my street unless it’d been tested in a controlled environment.
Davide Bacchet, head of self-driving car startup Nio said:
Just relying on data from the roads is not practical. With simulation, you can run the same scenario over and over again for infinite times, then test it again.
If nothing else then, we can hope that future driverless cars will have been trained to deal with situations like this:
Next week: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is used to train riderless horses (which are technically just wild horses, but shh).
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.