Comparing driving behavior of humans and autonomous driving in a professional racing simulator

Adrian Remonda*, Eduardo Enrique Veas, Granit Luzhnica

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motorsports have become an excellent playground for testing the limits of technology, machines, and human drivers. This paper presents a study that used a professional racing simulator to compare the behavior of human and autonomous drivers under an aggressive driving scenario. A professional simulator offers a close-to-real emulation of underlying physics and vehicle dynamics, as well as a wealth of clean telemetry data. In the first study, the participants’ task was to achieve the fastest lap while keeping the car on the track. We grouped the resulting laps according to the performance (lap-time), defining driving behaviors at various performance levels. An extensive analysis of vehicle control features obtained from telemetry data was performed with the goal of predicting the driving performance and informing an autonomous system. In the second part of the study, a state-of-the-art reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm was trained to control the brake, throttle and steering of the simulated racing car. We investigated how the features used to predict driving performance in humans can be used in autonomous driving. Our study investigates human driving patterns with the goal of finding traces that could improve the performance of RL approaches. Conversely, they can also be applied to training (professional) drivers to improve their racing line.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0245320
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages37
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2021


  • reinforcement learning
  • autonomous driving
  • motorsports
  • Deep reinforcement learning
  • human behavior model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing
  • Mobility & Production

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Experimental


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