May 22, 2017 | Updated: 01:56 PM EDT

2017 ‘GTA 5’ Used As Simulator For Testing Self-Driving Cars

Apr 21, 2017 02:55 AM EDT

Grand Theft Auto Video Game
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images) Copies of Grand Theft Auto V are displayed at the 8 Bit & Up video games shop in Manhattan's East Village on September 18, 2013 in New York City. The video game raked in more than $800 million in sales in its first 24 hours on the shelves.

The idea of self-driving cars is not a new one. All of us have seen them in movies and games. But a real driverless car that can drive by itself is probably closer to become a reality. The advancement in artificial intelligence, lasers, sensors, radars and autonomous technology has created a battlefield for the automobile industry to manufacture ultra-modern and highly sensible autonomous vehicles.

As mentioned in Euro Gamer, the GTA 5 that incorporates the realistic scenery can teach AI to recognize the real world objects, faces and other scenarios correctly. Researchers from Intel Labs and Darmstadt University in Germany have developed intelligent software to extract useful training data from this hugely popular game.

In GTA 5, the software positions between the game and a computer's hardware, automatically classifying different objects in the road scenes showed in the game and simultaneously label them. These labels are then fed to the machine learning AI algorithms enabling them to recognize various objects present in the game as well as in real world.

According to Alain Kornhauser, the adviser of Autonomous Vehicle Engineering team, GTA 5 is the richest virtual environment to extract data from. The data from GTA is not the basis but is just a supplementary to their work because testing with actual vehicles will be both time consuming and highly expensive. Although virtual world can never replace the test in the real world but it can enable researchers to do a highly specific testing in a controlled environment without having to recreate the scenario in the actual streets, thus saving both time and money.

The GTA 5 game features 262 different vehicles, multiple different kinds of weather and lighting conditions, complex infrastructure and it mimics a variety of real world dangerous and tumultuous conditions, therefore, providing a complete platform to test the safety of driverless cars, as per Polygon.

There is a little risk for computers to learn some negative behavior from the game. But the realistic feel in the virtual world of GTA could help autonomous vehicles to comprehend and distinguish among the elements of the real world precisely.