Monday, April 17, 2017

Hands Free Driving with GTA5

Driverless cars are going to be the wave of the future with vehicle technology. Some trucking companies already use it in a stripped-down version, to ensure that their drivers have enough time to eat and rest without having to stop. It's going to happen. But with the amount of testing that needs to be done before these cars can hit the road en' mass, they need to go through thousands of hours of rigorous simulations. Enter video games!

Ford, Toyota, and everyone in between has been looking to video games to make up for the man hours that they can't utilize. And what better way to stress test your vehicle then to use Grand Theft Auto V. I want to joke about this, but I can't when it's true. The reality is that there isn't enough data from actual road tests to make driverless cars ready. They need virtual substitutes and there's where games like GTA come in handy to help provide more simulations.

Why GTA5 and not Gran Turismo? For one, GT is a racing game in high speed vehicles that 95% of the population doesn't own. Not to mention, completely impractical to use as a test case. GTA5 utilizes some more logical real-world simulations for how people are suppose to drive. When you remove the gamer from the equation, the NPC's in GTA tend to drive like how we should when one obeys the traffic laws. They stop at red lights/signs and slow down at yellow lights. They yield to highway off ramps. They move safely out of the way for emergency vehicles. If you sit and watch the flow of traffic in the game, it's quite lovely. This is how people should drive when they follow the rules. It's not 100% perfect as game glitches or miscalculations in the coding happen. But without player intervention, for the most part, the cars move as they are suppose to.

What makes GTA5 also stand out from counterparts is that it utilizes over 1,000 unpredictable pedestrian behavior, different weather conditions including snow, and 262 types of vehicles. It provides the random nature of humanity while allowing for safe driving to be a factor.

So companies are utilizing GTA5 to help code their driverless vehicles and to provide more simulated environments to test them. I'd love to see the crew at Toyota through this process. You know some of them are gamers and giddy at the prospect of using GTA5.

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