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This Virtual City Video Game Can Help Driverless Car Adapt to Traffic

The benefits of building a Mario Kart for tomorrow's robot drivers

With the era of the self-driving car just over the horizon, companies are already working to develop the tech infrastructure we’ll need to optimize the routes of autonomous vehicles. And one company, Immense Simulations, has turned to video game technology for a powerful solution.

The U.K.-based startup has teamed up with Improbable—a video game simulation company formed to make online multi-player worlds—to create virtual replicas of real-world cities and their traffic patterns. Traffic data from these cities is fed into the simulation, enabling car companies to figure out exactly where to send their fleet of self-driving vehicles to accommodate daily traffic patterns or the impact of traffic accidents.

It might not sound like much, but creating these virtual cities that update in real time is a big deal for self-driving cars, and can help build out the next-generation infrastructure needed to update our transport network.

The U.K.’s Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin has said the project will "profoundly change the way we travel" by "reducing accidents and helping traffic flow more smoothly."

Highly Detailed City Simulation is the New Autonomous Taxi Dispatch [MIT Technology Review]

Google's Self-Driving Car Learns How to Honk [Curbed]