Spanish researchers win an international simulated car racing competition

October 29, 2012

The 2012 Simulated Car Racing Competition is the fourth edition of this international contest, which consists of a simulation of the physics of cars racing on a virtual track using artificial intelligence. Each contest consists of nine races joining three stages held in international contests of the highest level.

Each race has two challenges: driving a car alone as long a distance as possible, and driving a car in the presence of other competitors. An added difficulty is that race tracks are not revealed to the participants until the start of the race, and car sensors -which evaluate the situation (distance to the edge of the racetrack, distance to the competitor, speed, RPM, etc.)- are not precise.

The results of the final leg were presented in Granada in the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Video Games (CIG 2012) held on 11-14th September. The winner was the team formed by PhDs. Enrique Onieva and David Pelta, members of the University of Granada Research Group on Decision and Optimization Models.

The team has participated and won all Simulated Car Racing Competition editions since 2009 using Soft Computing-based modular architecture for intelligent control of cars. Each module controls an action that is essential to drive a car: 1) Controlling the gears; 2) Controlling speed; 3) Determining the speed allowed; 5) Controlling the wheel; 6) Managing competitors' presence, and 6) Learning from one track to another (training module). While the winner car is not the fastest, its ability to manage the presence of other competitors and its training module allow an efficient control of the car in the presence of other vehicles.

The races and the intelligent control of cars are developed in TORCS (The Open Racing Car Simulator), in C++, which is available under GPL license on the official web. The simulator implements highly sophisticated motor physics (aerodynamics, fuel consumption, traction, etc.) using 3D graphics to display the races.

The development of this architecture was funded under the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity's project TIN2011-27696-C02-01, and the Andalusian Department of Economy, Innovation and Science's projects P07-TIC-02970 and P11-TIC-8001. These projects are aimed at analyzing and designing soft computing-based techniques and implementing them in the development of smart systems.
The results of all Simulated Car Racing Competition editions are available on:

Contact: PhD. Enrique Onieva & Dr. David Pelta. University of Granada Research Group on Decision and Optimization Models. E.T.S.I. Informática y de Telecomunicación. Tlf.:+34 958 241000 (ext. 46080). E-mail addresses:,

University of Granada

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