When you think of safe driving we're pretty sure the Grand Theft Auto series is the last thing that pops into your mind, so it may come as a shock to you that it's currently serving as the driving instructor for 'self-driving' cars.

That’s right, this is the same GTA that lets you run over in-game pedestrians, habitually break numerous traffic laws and perform drive-by shootings. It turns out though that the researchers at Intel Labs and Germany’s Darmstadt University are less interested in the criminal carnage aspect of the game, instead they’re focusing more on the gigantic sandbox element that’s offered in the current game, GTA V.

If you take a break from running over innocent bystanders and evading the police (and the army) on that five-star cop rating, you’ll realise that GTA V’s Los Santos is the perfect simulator for these 'self-driving' A.I’s to train in. By learning in that environment it can recognise objects such as cars, people, bicycles and other everyday things you’d encounter on your regular commute.

The video below is a perfect example of a car being driven in GTA V by an A.I. program. As you can see its staying in its own lane and avoid other objects on the road.

Proof that the GTA series is more than just a controversial sandbox, crime simulator.

[Via Nerdist]