Self-Driving Cars Trained By Video Games

By Ben Hamill - April 22 2021

Self-Driving Cars Trained By Video Games

It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of a fully autonomous car was only science fiction. But now, with numerous major manufacturers pushing ahead with the required technology, it seems as if science fiction will soon be a reality.

However, training an artificial intelligence (AI) to drive a car is no small task. In fact, it is an immensely time consuming and costly affair, costing companies untold millions. But Porsche Engineering seems to have found a novel, if unusual solution. In order to train their AI systems in the most cost-efficient manner possible, specialists are now turning to the world of video games.

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Video Game Training

A technical director at Porsche Engineering, Dirk Lappe, explained that in order to cut back on time and costs, in-house developers have been using game engines to create virtual simulations. The AI systems are put through the game engines, Lappe explained, and are therefore exposed to virtually every driving situation imaginable, without the need to ever take a real car out onto the roads.

He pointed out that in real-world test drives it isn’t always possible to quickly and efficiently recreate situations, and these real-world simulated events are also often extremely costly to keep reproducing. With game engines, he stressed, an AI can be put through a gauntlet of unusual driving conditions at almost no reoccurring cost at all. It is a best of both worlds’ solution, he declared, making video game engines an essential part of the AI cars of the future.

Design Assistance Software

But it isn’t just AI training that game engines are playing a major role in. Porsche engineers now also use a combination of gaming software and VR to help in overall design. With incredibly detailed vehicle models now possible in real-time VR software, engineers can make surgically precise changes, without ever having to have a prototype built.

Lappe added that the tech is now also spilling over into the commercial end of the business as well. He pointed out that, as far as the future of Porsche is concerned, customers will likely be making their purchases via VR. He explained that with just a gaming PC and a decent headset, customers can get up and close with their chosen car model, long before having made a purchase. Lappe concluded by jokingly saying out that his team of engineers was a group of both car and programing nerds.

Though, as far as the future of motor vehicles are concerned, this seems to be the exact right combination of nerd to forge the future.