The most recent iteration of the new GT Sophy AI agent may have surprised spectators at the Gran Turismo World Series Showdown in Amsterdam last month by putting on a drift show.
While the Sony AI team has been working diligently to improve Sophy as a competitive AI offering since the in-game test period back in February, it appears that somewhere along the road at least one ‘bot has discovered the joy of drifting.
Actually, it’s not altogether odd that the AI would pick it up, at least in small doses. As a means of accelerating into corners more quickly, Sophy has been observed employing some cunning techniques to cause the back end to rotate. “It’s always surprising to see the unique ways in which Sophy learns to drive around the track,” says Dr. Kaushik Subramanian of Sony AI.
But considering that Sophy has been trained in a way that rewards fast lap times thus far, it may come as a surprise to see it find a way to move slower and significantly more sideways.
The Lamborghini Countach, which is a curious choice for a drift car, is shown spinning in a full circle as it approaches three of Trial Mountain’s corners in the video above, before continuing to drift around. It appears that Drift Sophy enjoys a 360 entry drift.
It’s unclear if this entertaining version of Sophy will appear in Gran Turismo, but it does demonstrate that the AI can be taught to perform tasks other than simply completing a circuit as quickly as possible. This bodes well for AI advancements that those of us who aren’t among the top 0.1% of drivers will be able to keep up with.
Dr. Subramanian supports Dr. Peter Wurman’s assertion that Sony AI is collaborating with Polyphony Digital to make Sophy a more significant and “permanent part of the game” when he made it during our discussion with him last month.
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