Simulation is an essential tool to develop and benchmark autonomous vehicle planning software in a safe and cost-effective manner. However, realistic simulation requires accurate modeling of nuanced and complex multi-agent interactive behaviors. To address these challenges, we introduce Waymax, a new data-driven simulator for autonomous driving in multi-agent scenes, designed for large-scale simulation and testing. Waymax uses publicly-released, real-world driving data (e.g., the Waymo Open Motion Dataset) to initialize or play back a diverse set of multi-agent simulated scenarios. It runs entirely on hardware accelerators such as TPUs/GPUs and supports in-graph simulation for training, making it suitable for modern large-scale, distributed machine learning workflows. To support online training and evaluation, Waymax includes several learned and hard-coded behavior models that allow for realistic interaction within simulation. To supplement Waymax, we benchmark a suite of popular imitation and reinforcement learning algorithms with ablation studies on different design decisions, where we highlight the effectiveness of routes as guidance for planning agents and the ability of RL to overfit against simulated agents.
In this work, we define the Waymo Open Sim Agents Challenge (WOSAC). Simulation with realistic, interactive agents represents a key task for autonomous vehicle software development. WOSAC is the first public challenge to tackle this task and propose corresponding metrics. The goal of the challenge is to stimulate the design of realistic simulators that can be used to evaluate and train a behavior model for autonomous driving. We outline our evaluation methodology and present preliminary results for a number of different baseline simulation agent methods.