Sony AI and Polyphony Digital have announced Gran Turismo Sophy, a “superhuman artificial intelligence agent” that is capable of racing against the best of Gran Turismo players. Gran Turismo Sophy is the first project from Sony AI and has real-world applications with self-driving cars and helping racing drivers improve. Gran Turismo Sophy will not be available in Gran Turismo 7 but it will come to future releases. Sony Interactive Entertainment has also confirmed that Gran Turismo Sport has surpassed 14 million players since releasing in October 2017, this is up from the 9.5 million reported in February 2021.

Here’s what Michael Spranger, chief operating officer of Sony AI, had to say:

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.

Details via Sony AI:

Gran Turismo Sophy is an autonomous artificial intelligence agent trained utilizing a novel deep reinforcement learning platform developed in collaboration between Sony AI, Polyphony Digital, and Sony Interactive Entertainment. Each group contributed to the success of the project by bringing together expertise in fundamental artificial intelligence research and development, a hyper-realistic real world racing simulator, and infrastructure for massive scale artificial intelligence training.

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

– Race Car Control – Deep understanding of car dynamics, racing lines, and precision maneuvers to conquer challenging tracks.
– Racing Tactics – Split-second decision-making skills in response to rapidly evolving racing situations. Gran Turismo Sophyshowed mastery of tactics including slipstream passing, crossover passes and even some defensive maneuvers such as blocking.
– Racing Etiquette – Essential for fair play, Gran Turismo 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.

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