Rochester, NY Students Compete in the DeepRacer Challenge: Battle of the Schools

On March 4th, 2020 the fastest way to get rolling with AI- literally, is being brought to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT.) EagleDream Technologies, one of the nation’s fastest-growing cloud-native transformation companies and the only Premier-level Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner in the region, is excited to partner with AWS to bring this opportunity to students in the local community.

The DeepRacer Challenge brings the area’s top computer science, software development, computing, engineering, and machine learning students together to learn about advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and compete in the region’s only self-driving racecar challenge. Teams are building and training AI algorithms using Amazon SageMaker software, deploying them to self-driving cars measuring about 10 inches, then racing them around a track of roughly 17 feet by 26 feet. Going by the official AWS rules, the fastest car that stays on the track the most will win the DeepRacer Challenge.

In preparation for the event, the teams are tasked with writing code that will “reward” the algorithms when they do something right, such as winning a race or avoiding an obstacle. However, this is also helping them prepare to use this technology to solve obstacles in the business world.

Aside from training autonomous vehicles, reinforcement learning can be used to help robots walk faster or to develop security systems that can automatically adapt to different environments. Reinforcement learning can be a tough technology to understand. Being able to learn hands-on with the AWS DeepRacer helps make the topic more approachable and engaging. Thus, helping everyone learn and utilize these skills so they can be implemented to address business challenges.

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