An online entertainment giant in China, Tencent operates the hugely popular all-purpose app WeChat -- and the hit game Arena of Valor. It also owns the companies behind Clash of Clans and League of Legends.
Testing autonomous cars on real roads can be time-consuming and dangerous. So Tencent is choosing to test-drive their vehicles in virtual reality.
The company’s computer simulation recreates different driving conditions and scenarios, allowing its self-driving algorithm to move through rain, snow, low-light conditions or a crowded three-lane road. Tencent can run the equivalent of 100 autonomous cars, each driving 100,000 km (62,137 miles) a day in the simulation, according to a WeChat post.
Tencent isn’t the first to rack up virtual self-driving miles. Google spinoff Waymo said in July that it had already driven 10 billion miles in simulation. The US company is widely regarded as a global leader in self-driving technology. It launched a commercial ride-hailing service last year with a backup human driver behind the wheel.