Sony’s AI Is So Good At Gran Turismo That It’s Giving Top Human Players Road Rage

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Artificial intelligence is only getting better, and it is only a matter of time until our robot overlords take over. Until then, Sony and Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital have partnered to make their AI better at racing. We have definitely been impressed by the amazing leaps done by their teams and they have decided to show off their achievements to the world with their AI project called Sophy.

Sophy has some impressive technology behind it. On the technology overview page, the developers laid out a simple concept behind Sophy. The AI was given logic flow based on the environment and actions taken or to be taken. It also seems to be based on training concepts meant for pets, using a reward system. Effectively if the environment creates something that would warrant a penalization, the AI is told not to do that again, such as bumping. If it receives a good signal without having penalization, it gets instructed to keep doing that.

An example of this would be a better lap time without penalization means that the previous actions were good, so try new things but fall back on that. All of this data is gathered from more than 1,000 races against itself and other ghosts willingly submitted from racers in the game per track, and additionally for each race it takes on. Check it out...

The AI technology also created more advanced driving techniques that it can do that are just simply not possible without some form of computer assistance. Such as a braking technique that allows for fast-in and fast-out curves and turns. Utilizing some computer capability allows the AI to brake three tires instead of the usual two that a human driver might use when entering a turn, allowing for shorter brake times while still safely taking turns.

 "You can see the line is so much different from me." said Valerio Gallo, 2021 FIA Gran Turismo Nations Cup Champion, when attempting to race against the ghost of Sophy. Eventually, with his best lap time being 0.217 seconds slower, admitting defeat saying "OK... I will take it."

Emily Jones, an Australian top competitor in Gran Turismo early on in their race versus the AI stated, "They're already ahead of me, that's extremely frustrating."

It likely is frustrating considering a competitor like her likely rarely sees people or timed ghosts in front of her when playing. Later she quips that "It was... annoyingly fast." Watching the video show that drivers end up learning some new things and improving as they follow the ghost, so this could make racing both in simulators and the real world very interesting. Sony and Polyphony Digital have documented just about every aspect of this very cool AI tech on their Gran Turismo portal.