Sony AI superhuman Racing

Shows how GT Sophy AI may be used to create new gaming and entertainment experiences.
Nature published research today.

February 9, 2022 – Sony AI, in collaboration with Polyphony Digital Inc. (PDI) and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), today announced Gran Turismo SophyTM (“GT Sophy”), the first superhuman AI agent to outrace the world’s best drivers in Gran TurismoTM (GT) Sport, a highly realistic PlayStation®4 racing simulation game. GT Sophy promises to provide players all across the world with unique AI-powered gaming experiences.

Gran Turismo™ is a video game developed by Polyphony Digital Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. Having launched in Japan first in 1997, the multi-award-winning franchise is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator due to true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology, and careful attention to detail. Polyphony and its famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi have revolutionized the racing game genre.
https://www.gran-turismo.com/

What is GT Sophy?

GT Sophy is an autonomous AI agent that was trained using a revolutionary deep reinforcement learning platform built by Sony AI, PDI, and SIE in partnership. By bringing together expertise in core AI research and development, a hyper-realistic real-world racing simulator, and infrastructure for big-scale AI training, each group contributed to the project’s success.

GT Sophy was trained to master the following driving skills needed to compete with the world’s best championship-level drivers.

  1. 1. Race Car Control: Deep understanding of car dynamics, racing lines, and precision maneuvers to conquer challenging tracks.
  2. 2. Racing Tactics: Split-second decision-making skills in response to rapidly evolving racing situations. GT Sophy showed mastery of tactics including slipstream passing, crossover passes and even some defensive maneuvers such as blocking.
  3. 3. Racing Etiquette: Essential for fair play, GT Sophy had to conform to highly refined, but imprecisely specified, sportsmanship rules including avoiding at-fault collisions and respecting opponent driving lines.

Sony AI and its partners built a novel deep reinforcement learning approach and platform since no existing combination of algorithms and infrastructure could solve this challenge. Mastering the complex sport of race car driving in the highly realistic driving simulator Gran Turismo Sport represents a new breakthrough in AI and as such it is published today in Nature in an article titled Outracing Champion Gran Turismo Drivers with Deep Reinforcement Learning.

Sony AI superhuman Racing
Sony AI superhuman Racing. Image from Sony AI.

Also Read: Toyota Research Institute tests cars to drift autonomously pushes vehicles’ advanced safety capabilities.

AI for Gaming and Entertainment:

Aside from the technical achievement, the close collaboration between PDI, a PlayStation Studios game production studio, and Sony AI, an AI development team, highlights how AI can provide players with unique gaming experiences. Sony AI and PDI will look at how GT Sophy can be included in future Gran Turismo games.

“Sony’s Purpose is to ‘fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology,’ and Gran Turismo Sophy is a perfect embodiment of this,“ said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President, and CEO, Sony Group Corporation. “This group collaboration in which we have built a game AI for gamers is truly unique to Sony as a creative entertainment company. It signals a significant leap in the advancement of AI while also offering enhanced experiences to GT fans around the world.”

“Gran Turismo Sophy is a significant development in AI whose purpose is not simply to be better than human players, but to offer players a stimulating opponent that can accelerate and elevate the players’ techniques and creativity to the next level,” said Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony AI. “In addition to making contributions to the gaming community, we believe this breakthrough presents new opportunities in areas such as autonomous racing, autonomous driving, high-speed robotics, and control.”

“AI research is a good opportunity to really think about what it means to be human and how technology and society can better co-exist,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital. “Since its first release in 1997, the Gran Turismo franchise has continued to push the boundaries of gaming and innovation through curiosity for technology. Gran Turismo Sophy is a further demonstration of this philosophy, and I believe that this AI concept will contribute to both the future of games and automobiles.”

Racing Results: A Win for AI and Gamers

On July 2, 2021, and October 21, 2021, Sony AI put GT Sophy to the test by racing against four of the world’s finest Gran Turismo drivers in two Race Together 2021 Challenge events. GT Sophy outperformed the best human GT drivers in both time trials and an FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships type race for the second event in October after making modifications to the agent based on the results of the first race.

The following remarks from top drivers who have competed against GT Sophy elicit anticipation for what the future may bring.

“I completely forgot that I was playing against AI. It was really fun. I want to race with the agent more in the future.”

Takuma Miyazono, FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2020 Champion

“I think AI agents will be great companions for drivers.”

Shotaro Ryu, Globally ranked Gran Turismo Driver

“GT Sophy showed us new possibilities that we hadn’t imagined before.”

Igor Fraga, FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2018 Champion

“It was really exciting to see GT Sophy’s racing technique. I got a lot of inspiration from her.”

Emily Jones, FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2020 World Finalist

Details on the Gran Turismo Sophy project, technology, and the Race Together 2021 challenge races can be found at the Gran Turismo Sophy site.

Sony AI Inc. was founded on April 1, 2020, with the mission to “unleash human imagination and creativity with AI.” Sony AI aims to combine cutting-edge research and development of artificial intelligence with Sony Group’s imaging and sensing technology, robotics technology, and entertainment assets such as movies, music, and games to accelerate Sony’s transformation into an AI-powered company and to create new business opportunities. To achieve this, Sony AI has launched four flagship projects to date aimed at the evolution and application of AI technology in the areas of Gaming, Imaging & Sensing, Gastronomy, and AI Ethics. For more information visit https://ai.sony

Source: Sony AI

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