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Monday, October 14, 2019

Game Theory and Autonomous Cars

How do we construct models about elements of autonomy and how they interact our own behavior?

Game Theory and AI Systems: Use Case For Autonomous Cars  By Dr. Lance Eliot, CEO, Techbrium Inc.   AI Trends Insider

When you get onto the freeway, you are essentially entering into the matrix. For those of you familiar with the movie of the same name, you’ll realize that I am suggesting that you are entering into a kind of simulated world as your car proceeds up the freeway onramp and into the flow of traffic. Whether you know it or not, you are indeed opting into playing a game, though one much more serious than an amusement park bumper cars arena.

On the freeway, you are playing a game of life-and-death.

It might seem like you are merely driving to work or trying to get to the ballgame, but the reality is that for every moment you are on the freeway you are at risk of your life. Your car can go awry, say it suddenly loses a tire, and you swerve across the lanes, possibly ramming into other cars or going off a freeway embankment. Or, you might be driving perfectly well, and all of a sudden, a truck ahead of you unexpectedly slams on its breaks and you crash into the truck.

 I hope this doesn’t seem morbid. Nor do I want to appear to be an alarmist. But, you have to admit, these scenarios are all possible and you are in fact at the risk of your life while on the freeway. For a novice driver, such as a teenager starting to drive, you can usually see on their face an expression that sums up the freeway driving circumstance – abject fear. They know that one wrong move can be fatal. They are usually somewhat surprised that anyone would trust a teenager to be in such a situation of great responsibility. Most teenagers are held in contempt by adults for a lack of taking responsibility seriously, and yet we let them get behind the wheel of a multi-ton car and drive amongst the rest of us. .... 

 For related article about how greed motivates drivers and its impacts on self-driving cars, see: 

 Leveraging Game Theory

Anyway, if you are willing to concede that we can think of freeway driving as a game, you then might be also willing to accept the idea that we can potentially use game theory to help understand and model driving behavior.

With game theory, we can consider the freeway driving and the traffic to be something that can be mathematically modeled. This mathematical model can take into account conflict. A car cuts off another car. One car is desperately trying to get ahead of another car. And so on. The mathematical model can also take into account cooperation. As you enter onto the freeway, perhaps other cars let you in by purposely slowing down and making an open space for you. Or, you are in the fast lane and want to get over to the slow lane, so you turn on your blinker and other cars let you make your way from one lane to the next. There is at times cooperative behavior on the freeway, and likewise at times there is behavior involving conflict. ..... "

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