VR for self-driving cars makes training safer, more efficient

Researchers at the Ohio State University (OSU) have now unveiled a new method for training self-driving cars that works like virtual reality for autonomous vehicles (AVs), making the AIs “think” the car is in one place when it’s actually in another.

A developer could use the tech to make the AV believe it’s approaching a busy intersection, for example, when it’s really just driving around an empty lot. The key feature here, which makes it different from a pure simulation, is that the system is operating a real, physical car, while virtual obstacles can be safely thrown its way.

“The [Vehicle-in-Virtual-Environment (VVE)] method can work with any AV simulator and virtual environment rendering software as long as these can be run in real time and can generate the raw sensor data required by the actual AV computing system,” they write in a study, published in Sensors.