Whilst many automakers are physically testing their self-driving cars on actual roads, Waymo, a company under parent Alphabet, has also turned to the digital world to test out their autonomous driving technology. The world is called Carcraft and yes, it is meant to give honour to Blizzard’s world, Warcraft.
This is absolutely brilliant because where Waymo can only test a limited amount of physical vehicles on the road, they can test up to 25,000 virtual vehicles in Carcraft. It was all thanks to a situation in which a self-driving car had difficulty at a specific roundabout which prompted them to try to replicate it, firstly in the real world and then followed by the virtual world.
The roundabout was what they found in Texas. Normally they were concentrating on single lane roundabout and when their test vehicle encountered a multi-lane roundabout, the car was jittery at the presence of another vehicle whilst going around the roundabout. This
In Carcraft they have created models of Austin, Mountain View, and Phoenix as well as test tracks according to a report by The Atlantic. Just in 2016, they have logged 2.5 billion virtual miles in Carcraft alone. Compared to the 3 million miles of real life testing, the virtual miles are what they call as “interesting” miles as there are chances where they can learn something new. A number of miles tested is staggering and seems to prove that Waymo might just be the leader of the pack trying to achieve mass production autonomous vehicle technology.
The report gives an in depth look at the facilities where Carcraft is housed as well as their physical testing grounds so do check it out in the link below.
[Source: The Atlantic]