Waymo shares new details about its autonomous vehicle simulation efforts

The Alphabet Inc. subsidiary today shared an update on its simulation efforts, revealing that its Driver autonomous driving AI is covering about 20 million miles a day on virtual roads. That’s the equivalent of about 100 years’ worth in the real world. Waymo uses these virtual road trips to hone Driver’s navigation capabilities and expose the system to new scenarios it may have to face in the future when ferrying passengers on public roads…

Waymo uses the collected data to replicate congested roads, intersections and other challenging driving environments. Engineers can tweak these simulations to make things even more difficult for Driver. They can, for instance, speed up traffic or place extra cyclists between virtual vehicles. The simulator can also generate entirely new road scenarios to prepare the AI for rare situations that it has not yet encountered in the real world.