One tech company is looking to make realistic clones of real-world objects using its videogame engine in order to improve AI training.
Unity, which powers popular videogames such as Cuphead, Hollow Knight and Pokémon, is being used to create ‘digital twins’ (virtual replicas) of everything from rollercoasters to entire cities.
This is how tech companies can create realistic simulations for testing new products, and even teach artificial Intelligence to better handle real-world situations.
However, David Rhodes, an executive at the company, says that things are changing. UnityWants to take it one step further? Build a “digital twin of the world”.
WIREDUnity’s engine is being used to create virtual people, also known as non-player characters (NPCs). These NPCs can be used to test everything from the safety of rollercoasters to real-world traffic scenarios for a self-driving car—without anybody getting hurt.
Danny Lange is Unity’s senior vice-president of AI. “In a synthetic world, you can basically recreate a world that is better than the real world for training systems. And I can create many more scenarios with that data in unity.”
This could be a step towards fully autonomous cars becoming a reality.
Lyft, Tesla, and Lyft train their vehicle AIs on real roads. Unfortunately, this has caused a lot more accidents than expected as the AI is still learning to behave.
AI requires thousands of different types of data to learn how it works, but currently this limit is the number of times that a driver can drive a car on the road.
Unity allows engineers to generate almost as much data as driving 500 million miles per 24 hours.
After the data is uploaded, the AI will be better equipped to handle roads and avoid the need for a driver.
Lange stated: “How many times does it take [to train an AI]? A thousand? In a game engine, you can have an NPC actually trying to get killed in front of a car, and you can see if the car can actually prevent it.”
Although the company is far from creating a digital twin for the entire planet, self-driving shows the potential of technology that could lead to something similar to The Matrix.