Here's what you need to know about the AWS DeepRacer, the miniature self-driving race car

30th Nov 2018
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A 1/18th scale model, the AWS DeepRacer is a fully autonomous remote controlled vehicle that the company hopes will help customers understand reinforcement learning modules.

Everybody loves radio controlled (RC) cars. Whether it is a brushless motor or a gasoline vehicle, these hobby cars have remained in the realm of the mechanical platforms for a long time now. And yesterday, Amazon Web Services launched an RC truck that uses reinforced learning and is actually fully autonomous. Called the DeepRacer, the RC truck was announced by AWS CEO Andy Jassy at the company's annual 're:Invent' cloud conference in Las Vegas.

The AWS Deep Racer is a 1/18th scale model that will allow customers to train it using AWS' reinforcement-learning models, which is a machine learning framework and one of the technologies used in autonomous cars. Using these reinforcement-learning modules, the company hopes that customers can understand exactly how it works and can use them in the real world - with the DeepRacer.

The RC truck is built on a monster truck chassis, has a battery system, runs on Intel atom processor and can be operated using a mobile phone. The DeepRacer’s AI module is built on AWS SageMaker and the 3D simulation environment is built on AWS RoboMaker.

DeepRacer AWS
Mike Miller, Senior Manager, Product Management, AWS AI

The car has a deep lens type of camera, which allows it to navigate its surroundings. This explains its odd shape that looks like the tail end of the car, but is actually the front.

“Developers were stifled by their organisations for far too long. We hope to unleash their creativity and use the cloud to innovate,” said Andy Jassy.

A year ago, AWS launched image recognition camera DeepLens, which allowed developers to build several applications based on image recognition, and led the company to try and solve the issues related to autonomous driving.

Soon, the company attempted to build this truck so that customers could use AWS tools to simulate driving and implement the software module.


Also Read: AWS CEO Andy Jassy takes a dig at Oracle’s Larry Ellison; launches 22 new services 


Mike Miller, Senior Manager, Product Management, AWS AI, said,

“It is not a toy car. It is a platform to make developers innovate and creative.”

To make matters more interesting, AWS will be launching the world's first autonomous racing league - the AWS DeepRacer League - in 2019, which will have 20 races. Winners get to bring their autonomous cars to the championship cup to be held at re:Invent 2019.

The car will soon be made available to developers attending AWS hackathons and is currently available only in the US. AWS says it plans to take it global soon and you can pre-order yours on Amazon.com for less than $250. Its original price is above $399.


 

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