Video game developers employed to advance autonomous vehicle technology

Leading video game developers are turning their attention to self-driving vehicle development as their skills become relevant to creating safe environments to test the new technology.

Oxbotica, an Oxford-based autonomous vehicle software company, says many of its staff have experience building video games in the flight simulator and racing genres.

The virtual worlds it has created to test self-driving vehicles use a video game engine similar to that used by popular titles such as Fortnite and Call of Duty, the company says.

Oxbotica has created these virtual worlds to create infinitely adjustable scenarios for its software to deal with it, from driving in cities to negotiating an off-road track in a mining quarry.

Scenarios such as changing weather conditions, traffic conditions or unpredictable pedestrian behaviour can be tested more easily than the real world.

Oxbotica Simulation
Oxbotica Simulation

Todd Gibbs was the first video game developer to make the switch to Oxbotica, following experience developing mobile game CSR Racing. He said: “At Oxbotica, we have attracted some of the brightest talent from the video game industry because they bring a speed of development and deployment unique to that industry.

“There is a lot of commonality between developing a chart-topping game and autonomous software, the most valuable being robust coding principles and a focus on CPU efficiency. We are able to write new code, debug and test in real-time without sacrificing robustness or safety.”