Metaverse simulates rare scenarios in autonomous car testing

Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) in the metaverse is being used to accelerate the safe and efficient deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology.

UK AV software company Oxbotica reckons its MetaDriver suite of tools is also reducing carbon emissions generated by vehicles driving actual miles.

Challenging scenarios

MetaDriver includes virtual world simulation, automated discovery of challenging scenarios, and real-time data expansion. It is designed to help AVs answer three core questions: “Do I see it right?, Am I doing it right? and Can I trust myself right now?”.

It generates a vast bank of scenarios, which are used to test and refine AV operations and behaviours, without ever needing to physically drive in them, accelerating commercial readiness. Oxbotica MetaDriver also provides the ability to build a digital twin representation from real-world gathered data.

The AIs have learnt to automatically seek out rare, unusual, and unseen scenarios, known as “edge cases”, which allows both testing of autonomy systems against “corner cases” and for the systems to learn to handle them.

MetaDriver offers edge-case discovery rates at an average of 1,000 times faster than traditional testing methods, and up to 35,000 times faster in some situations.

“Oxbotica MetaDriver is a suite of tools that offers so much more than straight forward simulation,” said Paul Newman, founder and CTO at Oxbotica. “Using the metaverse in this way provides us and our customers with practically unlimited test challenges, revolutionising how we are accelerating AV commercial deployment to make the earth move.

Using MetaDriver’s data expansion, each “meta-mile” can be tested in all conditions, including rain, snow, fog, and at night or in the day, eliminating the need to wait for various weather conditions to appear during real-world testing.

The advanced capabilities of MetaDriver enables fast, targeted and diverse testing, which Oxbotica said will give AV operators confidence that their vehicles are equipped to operate safely, accurately and effectively in their specialised environments, whether that is a city, mine, wind farm, solar park, or airport.

Newman added: “Oxbotica MetaDriver allows us to do the hard miles without the conventional need to physically drive the miles.

“The autonomous vehicle industry has become over indexed on the number of miles travelled as a synonym for safety, but what we actually care about is coverage of hard cases, not the endless miles endured. Oxbotica MetaDriver addresses this in a new and exciting way.”