Gran Turismo Racers Will Soon Be Able To Challenge The Unstoppable 'Sophy' AI

Gran Turismo 7 players will soon get a taste of what it feels like losing to artificial intelligence. Gran Turismo maker Polyphony Digital has partnered with Sony to develop an AI character called Sophy that was not only skilled at accelerating a sports car, but also good at strategies and even race ethics. Described as "a revolutionary superhuman racing AI racing agent," it is now coming to Gran Turismo 7 publicly for a limited time.

Sophy will be available to race against, starting February 21 through the end of March. However, the perk is only being extended to PlayStation 5 owners. The game is getting a new GT Sophy Race Together mode that can be launched from within the GT7 world map. However, you need to be at least a Collector Level 6 racer to get a chance to face off against the AI.

In the AI competition mode, players will battle it out against Sophy across four circuits, with each level being more challenging than the last one. The AI racer will switch to a car with more grunt as you reach higher difficulty levels. If you want to go toe-to-toe against the superhuman AI driver, there's also a 1vs1 mode to test your racing mettle while the riding an identical vehicle.

The evolution of a racing AI

Over the last few years, Sony and Polyphony Digital have been testing and refining Sophy against professional Gran Turismo players. In July 2021, Sophy went against the top Gran Turismo drivers, and the AI registered the best lap times across all three race events. However, the GT Top Driver Team claimed victory over the GT Sophy Team with an ultimate score of 86 to 70.

The AI would again made an appearance at the Gran Turismo World Series 2022 (GTWS 2022) Showdown Event and the Gran Turismo World Series 2022 World Finals, where it went up against the world's four best Gran Turismo players. In a paper published in Nature, the team behind Sophy concluded that "it is possible to train AI agents that are better than the top human racers across a range of car and track types." However, there are still a few key areas covering strategic decision-making where Sophy needed to improve, including making risky maneuvers.