Can Humans Learn From AI in Racing?

mikail_kenni.jpg
AI technology in simracing has been the subject of heated discussions from pretty much as far as the genre exists.

Recent technology breakthroughs didn't put an end to that: the recent exploits of Gran Turismo's Sophy AI in particular have raised both applauses and skepticism from the community, with the coded virtual driver using unorthodox methods to achieve seemingly impossible fast laps, to the point where a non neglectible amount of people called Sophy a cheater, either because of what they perceived as a break of track limits, or because it was assumed Sophy wouldn't be running on the same set of physics as us, simple mortals with hand tools.

But another thing that grew out recently in simracing is competitiveness, and it was only a matter of time before someone tried to incorporate Some of Sophy's techniques into their driving, and no one could be better suited than multiple world champion Mikail Hizal to pull it off. The turkish-german racer published a video in a tweet linked below showcasing him overtaking FIA GTC European finalist Kenni Hansen round the outside while using a patch of grass to his advantage, much like the stunts Sophy is often witnessed doing in the released footage of the AI running.


As a reminder, the addition of Sophy into Gran Turismo is planned for the end of the year, as stated by a Gran Turismo official in the italian chat of the last official GT7 esports broadcast.

sophyit.jpg


Meanwhile, several interviews with SONY AI people and Kazunori Yamauchi, plus hints discovered by data miners indicate that Sophy will not be replacing the existing solo mode race opponents, but rather appear as a separate game mode mainly aimed at helping people improve their skills. That means AI could potentially compete with the booming virtual driver coaching market in the future - if people don't get too nostalgic about the human factor, of course.
About author
GT-Alex
Global motorsports enjoyer, long time simracer, Gran Turismo veteran, I've been driving alongside top drivers since the dawn of online pro leagues on Gran Turismo, and qualified for the only cancelled FIA GTC World Tour. I've left aside competitive driving in 2020 to dedicate myself to IGTL, a simracing organisation hosting high quality events for pro racers and customers, to create with friends the kind of events we wished we could have had. We strive to provide the best events for drivers and the best content for viewers, and want to help the simracing scene grow and shine further in the global esports scene.

Comments

Premium
Personally I prefer racing against AI as it's readily accessible when I want it and can hit the 'Restart' if things do not go well...which is often:redface::roflmao:
Usually find myself following the AI when racing on a new track, for me it is a great way of learning.
 
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As long as you find right combo and settings for your pace I believe every sim I ever drove I have had good races of some sort or another.

I think the biggest thing for running AI is patience.
Start with lower strength so you can easy pass AI then drop back again. Study their behavior.

P.S.
For instance rF2 Brands Hatch GP @ Clark ( last turn ) you can bet at least 1 AI every lap will understeer then lift and turn right too much without so much as looking. So every lap you have to be concentrating, while you want to get close in tow you have to be aware, no use blaming the AI.
 
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Simracers can certainly learn from adaptive AI like Sophy, because Sophy will eventually find the fastest line through a specific corner using the same car physics and track limits as the player. Whether the player has the skill to copy the behaviour of the AI is a different story.... (even world class players like Mikail Hizal has difficulty copying the AI behaviour). Apart from that, the AI will certainly show where the exploits of the physics and track limits will be.
 
Generally, I'd say no – humans can't learn from AI. Because the way an AI is programmed to drive and race is a function of how the programmer explicitly codes behaviour or sets up a neural net-type model to "figure it out" autonomously. So set up an AI which only knows how to overtake by looking for a gap and outbraking, and you'll get no slipstreaming – like the issue we see in isiMotor2 games. Set up an AI with comically lax track limit rules, and you'll get track limit abuse on hotlaps, like we've seen from Sophy. But remember, humans, on their own, also figured out the grass exploit in iRacing (as seen at the recent Spa 24)... so was there a need to "learn" from AI, even with the specific example given in the article about pushing track limits? I'd say no. Also, we'll usually want a "good" AI to behave like a human... at which point the AI is imitating us, so why would we want to "learn" from it, a pale imitation of ourselves?
 
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"Sophy will not be replacing the existing solo mode race opponents, but rather appear as a separate game mode mainly aimed at helping people improve their skills. That means AI could potentially compete with the booming virtual driver coaching market in the future - if people don't get too nostalgic about the human factor, of course."

The idea of virtual driver coaching via AI is intriguing :)

But at the same time, this is a shame. The one thing keeping me from considering buying GT7 (and therefore a PS5) is the single player AI, which (in equal cars) appears to be little more than moving chicanes to drive around at the moment. The GT AI has always been this way, and it has always been the weak point of the games. It could really use an upgrade, and Sophy is a logical way to help provide truly next-gen AI.
 
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Premium
Generally, I'd say no – humans can't learn from AI. Because the way an AI is programmed to drive and race is a function of how the programmer explicitly codes behaviour or sets up a neural net-type model to "figure it out" autonomously. So set up an AI which only knows how to overtake by looking for a gap and outbraking, and you'll get no slipstreaming – like the issue we see in isiMotor2 games. Set up an AI with comically lax track limit rules, and you'll get track limit abuse on hotlaps, like we've seen from Sophy. But remember, humans, on their own, also figured out the grass exploit in iRacing (as seen at the recent Spa 24)... so was there a need to "learn" from AI, even with the specific example given in the article about pushing track limits? I'd say no. Also, we'll usually want a "good" AI to behave like a human... at which point the AI is imitating us, so why would we want to "learn" from it, a pale imitation of ourselves?
And still people can learn from AI. How good the AI is depends on who programmed it. If a very good racing line for AI is programmed in a track, and you are a beginner, you can learn from it.
 
Premium
I think AI is a very overrated name for computer programmed car drivers in most racing sims. When I think of artificial intelligence, I think of drivers who can really think and make choices for themselves. That is very limited in many sims. They drive a racing line pre-programmed by the track builder. The track limits within which they drive are also pre-programmed. Such a racing line consists of separate points. How they drive from one point to the next is also pre-programmed. The AI doesn't figure out how to make the fastest lap around a circuit at all. If they did, they wouldn't drive very well during free practice and slowly get better, but when they exit the pits they immediately drive the pre-programmed racing line.
To be honest, I'm not at all looking forward to real AI in a racing sim on my own computer. A real artificial intelligence car driver demands an enormous amount of computing power from my computer. Then there is not much left for a beautiful image, sound and very important, a well-drivable race car with realistic driving characteristics that I want to drive myself.
I'm satisfied with the non-perfection AI in the sims I drive. They're not perfect, but neither are we and a fair amount of online racers I've seen don't do much better. The only thing I do regret is the slow start of a race in Assetto Corsa when there is a lot of AI driving close together. But other than that I can live with it.
And yes, when I go on a track that I'm driving on for the first time, I wait for an AI to pull out of the pits. Then I drive behind it to quickly see how the circuit is going. At that point I learn from the AI you might say.
 
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And still people can learn from AI. How good the AI is depends on who programmed it. If a very good racing line for AI is programmed in a track, and you are a beginner, you can learn from it.
This is a great point, and one I forgot in my posts before. I was thinking of whether AI could "advance the knowledge frontier", as it were, in sim racing – as Sophy is intended and marketed to do, it seems. But beginners/intermediate drivers can 1000% learn lines (and sometimes even racecraft) from AI that take good lines and have solid spatial awareness. As I have many times myself. :)
 
GT7......... GT0

Nothing changes and it starts very badly from the beginning, it is well known that passing in the grass and on a vibrator is a guarantee of success.

Ciao
 
So Sophy is going to teach us how to better cheat? Those Laps it did are ridiculous - maybe track limits should actual track limits?
Or build game/system, where physics/tire model/friction model are closer to real life and driving on grass and other physics exploits would not be faster. And make the AI only use same data/input as human drivers, i.e. just the visual clues + sound and maybe some of the Telemetry, like gear and speed and not the full real-time telemetry from the game, i.e. like actual exact positions of all other cars etc.

Then let the AI learn driving on it and we could compare it to humans and I am sure it would be still fast like some of the fastest aliens. It might still produce some interesting driving lines though.

Cheers.
 
Personally I prefer racing against AI as it's readily accessible when I want it and can hit the 'Restart' if things do not go well...which if often:redface::roflmao:
Usually find myself following the AI when racing on a new track, for me it is a great way of learning.
I like racing offline as I can try risky moves I'd probably not try online and nobody gets upset about it. It at least means I know what's sort of off-limits if I race that track online.
 

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