Sony AI together with Polyphony Digital Inc. and Sony Interactive Entertainment has recently announced a breakthrough in artificial intelligence called the Gran Turismo Sophy or GT Sophy for short.
So what is GT Sophy? It is the first superhuman AI agent to outrace the world’s best drivers of the highly realistic PS4 racing game Gran Turismo Sport. It now aims to deliver new AI-powered gaming experiences to the players all over the world.
It is an autonomous AI agent trained utilizing a novel deep reinforcement learning platform. It was developed in collaboration between Sony AI, PDI, and SIE.
GT Sophy was trained to master the following driving skills:
1. Race Car Control: Deep understanding of car dynamics, racing lines, and precision maneuvers to conquer challenging tracks.
2. Racing Tactics: Split-second decision-making skills in response to rapidly evolving racing situations. GT Sophy showed mastery of tactics including slipstream passing, crossover passes and even some defensive maneuvers such as blocking.
3. Racing Etiquette: Essential for fair play, GT Sophy had to conform to highly refined, but imprecisely specified, sportsmanship rules including avoiding at-fault collisions and respecting opponent driving lines.
With GT Sophy, this demonstrates how AI can deliver new gaming experiences to players. Sony AI and PDI will now explore ways on how to integrate it to future releases of the GT series.
“Sony’s Purpose is to ‘fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology,’ and Gran Turismo Sophy is a perfect embodiment of this,“ said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation. “This group collaboration in which we have built a game AI for gamers is truly unique to Sony as a creative entertainment company. It signals a significant leap in the advancement of AI while also offering enhanced experiences to GT fans around the world.”
“Gran Turismo Sophy is a significant development in AI whose purpose is not simply to be better than human players, but to offer players a stimulating opponent that can accelerate and elevate the players’ techniques and creativity to the next level,” said Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony AI. “In addition to making contributions to the gaming community, we believe this breakthrough presents new opportunities in areas such as autonomous racing, autonomous driving, high-speed robotics and control.”
“AI research is a good opportunity to really think about what it means to be human and how technology and society can better co-exist,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital. “Since its first release in 1997, the Gran Turismo franchise has continued to push the boundaries of gaming and innovation through a curiosity for technology. Gran Turismo Sophy is a further demonstration of this philosophy, and I believe that this AI concept will contribute to both the future of games and automobiles.”
GT Sophy was raced against four of the world’s best Gran Turismo drivers in two Race Together 2021 Challenge events. It outperformed the best human GT drivers in both time trial races and an FIA-Certified GT Championships format race. They did make improvements to it based on the results of its first race though.
Here are the comments of the drivers that raced against GT Sophy:
“I completely forgot that I was playing against AI. It was really fun. I want to race with the agent more in the future.” Takuma Miyazono, FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2020 Champion
“I think AI agents will be great companions for drivers.” Shotaro Ryu, Globally ranked Gran Turismo Driver
“GT Sophy showed us new possibilities that we hadn’t imagined before.” Igor Fraga, FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2018 Champion
“It was really exciting to see GT Sophy’s racing technique. I got a lot of inspiration from her.” Emily Jones, FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2020 World Finalist