AI outsmarts human drivers in Gran Turismo 7 – and beats the world’s best racers

Gamers have been playing against AI opponents for years—but a new racing AI could be the most advanced yet.

Playstation has introduced GT Sophy to Gran Turismo 7, a sophisticated artificial intelligence designed to "put up a fight".

Sophy was trained on thousands of virtual races and is now so advanced that it can go toe-to-toe with some of the world's best Gran Turismo players.

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Playstation gamers have been struggling to beat the AI, which will be available to race against until March 31 until it's returned to the lab for further improvements.

Michael Spranger, chief operating officer of Sony AI, explained that 'this AI is going to put up a fight' compared to earlier computer opponents.

Mr Spranger told AP: "Gran Turismo had a built-in AI existing from the beginning of the game, but it has a very narrow band of performance and it isn't very good.

"It's very predictable. Once you get past a certain level, it doesn't really entice you anymore."

GT Sophy is so advanced thanks to the reinforcement learning methods that were used to train it.

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This is an algorithmic method which 'rewards' the AI system every time it gets something right during its virtual races.

Mr Spranger explained: "The reward is going to tell you that, 'You're making progress. This is good,' or, 'You're off the track. Well, that's not good."

The scientists behind Sophy believe that one day it could help researchers develop better AI systems capable of driving cars or controlling drones.

In a research paper, they said: "Many potential applications of artificial intelligence involve making real-time decisions in physical systems while interacting with humans. Automobile racing represents an extreme example of these conditions; drivers must execute complex tactical manoeuvres to pass or block opponents while operating their vehicles at their traction limits."


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