|Here is the blog post that was referred to in the last post:|
How simulation turns one flashing yellow light into thousands of hours of experience
Each day, as many as 25,000 Waymo self-driving cars drive 8 million miles in our virtual world, testing out new skills and refining old ones.By James Stout, lead software engineer
At the corner of South Longmore Street and West Southern Avenue in Mesa, Arizona, there’s a flashing yellow arrow that permits cars to turn left. Navigating this type of intersection can be tricky for humans and self-driving cars alike?—?drivers must carefully move into a five-lane intersection and then find a gap in oncoming traffic. Turning left too soon may cause a driving hazard for oncoming traffic; making the move too late may mean frustrated drivers behind.
While this type of traffic signal is rare in our hometown of Mountain View, CA, it’s become a common sight at intersections across Metro Phoenix, where we recently launched our early rider program. Since we first encountered this intersection, we’ve been teaching our self-driving cars to handle these types of traffic signals smoothly and confidently?—?just as an experienced driver would.
Just like for human drivers, the key to learning is practice. That’s where our simulator comes in. Waymo’s simulator is a realistic virtual world where we can recreate every real-world mile we’ve driven. Each day, as many as 25,000 virtual Waymo self-driving cars drive up to 8 million miles in simulation, testing out new skills and refining old ones. Like athletes visualizing the playing field, our virtual cars envision various scenarios and practice maneuvers that help them safely navigate the real world.
With simulation, we can turn a single real-world encounter?—?such as a flashing yellow left turn?—?into thousands of opportunities to practice and master a skill. Here’s how it works:
continues at medium.com
[This post shows how powerful VR can be. So many uses for it in companies, schools and many many other learning contexts. ]