Watch Gran Turismo Sophy Drift Like a Pro

If you were lucky enough to be at the Gran Turismo World Series Showdown in Amsterdam last month, you might have been treated to the latest build of the new GT Sophy AI agent putting in a rather unexpected performance: a drift exhibition.

While the Sony AI team has been hard at work refining Sophy, following the in-game test period back in February, as a competitive AI offering, it seems that at some point along the way at least one ‘bot has learned the joy of drifting.

It’s actually not entirely unexpected that it’s something the AI would learn, at least in moderation. We have seen Sophy using some tricks in order to get rotation of the rear end as a way of going faster on corner entry. As Dr. Kaushik Subramanian of Sony AI notes, “It’s always surprising to see the unique ways in which Sophy learns to drive around the track”.

However, given that the method of training we’ve seen so far rewards Sophy for getting good lap times, it’s probably a surprise to see it coming up with a way to go slower and considerably more sideways.

As we can see in the video above, it seems that Drift Sophy loves a 360 entry drift, spinning the Lamborghini Countach — itself a pretty odd choice of drift car — in a full circle approaching three of Trial Mountain’s corners before sliding on through.

It’s not clear if we can expect this rather entertaining version of Sophy to make it into Gran Turismo, but it certainly proves that the AI can be trained to do something other than just going as fast as possible around a circuit — boding well for future versions of the AI that those of us who aren’t in the top 0.1% of drivers can keep up with.

Dr. Subramanian echoes the comments made by Dr. Peter Wurman when we interviewed him last month, that Sony AI is working with Polyphony Digital to make Sophy a larger and “permanent part of the game”.

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