Sony has revealed Gran Turismo Sophy, which is being billed as a breakthrough project in AI.
The first major announcement from Sony AI, which was established in April 2020, Gran Turismo Sophy is the result of a collaboration with Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital and Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Using deep reinforcement learning techniques and trained with PlayStation’s cloud gaming infrastructure for massive scale training, the AI agent has gained the ability to compete with and outrace some of the world’s top Gran Turismo Sport players.
The project is being billed as a breakthrough because the PlayStation game and driving simulator requires players to master real-world physics. This is in contrast to earlier AI agents which mastered strategy focused board games like chess or Go, and less complex real-time multiplayer strategy video games.
Sony AI COO Michael Spranger said: “From the very beginning, our focus has been to partner with creators, and in this case PDI, the makers of Gran Turismo, to develop a game AI agent that could not only race competitively against the top Gran Turismo drivers, but one that would be fun for the top drivers to race against. And with Gran Turismo Sophy, we are making great steps towards achieving this goal.
“In the development of Gran Turismo Sophy we regularly interacted with top drivers to test out the latest versions. One of the most memorable moments was in a time trial race when Emily Jones, FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2020 World Finalist, was talking about how she was inspired by Gran Turismo Sophy to try out new racing lines that she hadn’t seen before.”
He added: “Sony AI and PDI will explore how to integrate GT Sophy into future releases of the Gran Turismo series.”
Chris Gerdes, a Stamford professor who specialises in autonomous driving, said Gran Turismo Sophy had the potential to aid the development of self-driving cars.
“Outracing human drivers so skillfully in a head-to-head competition represents a landmark achievement for AI,” he said (via Wired).
“GT Sophy’s success on the track suggests that neural networks might one day have a larger role in the software of automated vehicles than they do today.”
Gran Turismo 7 will be released for PS5 and PS4 on March 4, 2022.