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Can you use artificial intelligence on road trips? You sure can. Carmax did it, and from the data they collected, it seems that people even prefer AI planned road trips over those planned by actual people. Let’s take a look at a comparison of road trips planned by artificial intelligence and humans, and see which you’d prefer.  

The interior of a Tesla, with steering wheel and screen.
The interior of a Tesla Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Carmax used the preferences of real people to program artificial intelligence

Carmax was wondering whether artificial intelligence was capable of planning a road trip that people would love. To find this out, they surveyed over 1,000 people to find out what their ideal road trip would look like. Preferences were broken down into eight categories, which they then fed to the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3). From there, they were able to plan a variety of road trips with different routes and priorities. Finally, they had people compare these road trips to those planned by popular travel magazines to see which road trips people liked more.

Artificial intelligence on road trips can still account for preferences

Carmax’s surveys determined that people consider 566 miles to be the ideal road trip length, and summer the best time to travel. Additionally, most people wanted to go on a road trip with their significant other: 29.5% of respondents said they would be taking a couple’s road trip. 7.5% of people were even interested in a cross-country road trip, though this is clearly not the majority. 

Carmax also took into account factors such as car type and snacks, though it isn’t clear how exactly this was worked into the equation.

The best overall road trip designed by artificial intelligence began in San Francisco and then hit San Diego, Phoenix, Grand Canyon National Park, and Las Vegas before finishing in Santa Monica. Likewise the human-planned trip ended in Santa Monica, but this one began much farther away, in Chicago. It included St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles and Route 66. 

Surveys showed that an astonishing number of people preferred the AI-planned road trip – 72.2% to 27.8%. 

Couples prefer the artificial intelligence road trip

65.2% of people said that they would prefer to take the couples road trip designed by artificial intelligence. This trip begins in San Francisco and ends in Lake Tahoe. Along the way couples stop in Napa Valley and Sacramento. 

Meanwhile, only 34.8% of respondents wanted to take the road trip planned by people more. This trip also begins in San Francisco, and also ends there. Couples stop in Las Vegas, Denver, Jackson, Wyoming, and Portland. 

Respondents still preferred the cross-country road trip planned by artificial intelligence over that planned by a human, but not by as much. While 59.7% of people said that they’d like the AI trip more, 40.3% said they’d take the human-planned trip first. 

The cross-country trip planned by artificial intelligence starts in Miami and works its way west, to Los Angeles. The one designed by humans goes the other way, beginning in Seattle, then heading south to San Francisco before going east to Charleston, South Carolina. 

If you love road trips, you’re probably up for an adventure no matter what – or which way – it brings you. If that’s the case, you can’t go wrong with a road trip planned by either artificial intelligence or a human.