AWS DeepRacer League hits the road for more fun and excitement for developers!

From developer to machine learning developer

The AWS DeepRacer League is the world’s first autonomous racing league open to developers of all skill levels and it kicked off last week in Santa Clara, California. Chris Miller was crowned our first champion of the 2019 season. Chris is the founder of Cloud Brigade, based in Santa Cruz, California, and he came to the AWS Summit specifically to learn more about machine learning.

At AWS, we are committed to putting machine learning in the hands of all developers of all skill levels, making their experiences with machine learning fun and easy. At Santa Clara, our top three finishers all built a model in one of the onsite workshops and had a lot of fun doing it.

Chris Miller achieved a winning lap time of 10.43 seconds, and will now be advancing the finals at re:Invent 2019 where he will race to win the AWS DeepRacer Championship Cup. Before he arrived at the AWS Summit, he had no experience with machine learning.

Chris says, “When I got here today, I had no experience with machine learning, but that’s exactly what I came here to learn and what a great way to learn machine learning.”

Rahul Shah from Fremont, California came in second place. He was pleasantly surprised by how successful his model was and had a lot of fun with AWS DeepRacer. Rahul has been working with machine learning for the past few years, but this was his first time working with reinforcement learning.

“Working on this was easy, and any developer would be able to have success. The DeepRacer event is a really fun and exciting thing to do at the AWS Summit,” Rahul said.

The third-place finisher was Adrian Sarno from San Mateo, California. Adrian is a data scientist and has been actively involved with machine learning for most of his career. Attending the workshop and participating in the league was his first experience with reinforcement learning and he was curious to learn this advanced ML technique. Adrian’s first attempt at building his model was not as successful as he wanted it to be. When he realized what was at stake, he took to his keyboard and retrained his model for 2 hours. Then he returned with a model that scored him a podium finish.

Adrian says, “It’s straightforward to work with the applications that have been put together.”

All of our participants are excited to experiment more and use the coming months to get more advanced models ready to compete at re:Invent 2019. There, they can use their new found skills to help them win the AWS DeepRacer Championship Cup. 

Heading to Paris to reach developers globally

And it doesn’t end there. The AWS DeepRacer League made its first international stop at the AWS Summit in Paris, France yesterday. Paris is fast becoming a hub for learning and research on artificial intelligence. The French government has plans to invest in Paris to help enable the AI ecosystem in France and the rest of Europe. Such an investment can encourage a large community of developers to learn with easy access to the tools they need to become machine learning developers just like Chris, Rahul, and Adrian.

Today, at the AWS Summit in Paris, the AWS DeepRacer League welcomed more developers to learn, build, and train models to compete. The podium was filled with developers who came to the Summit to participate in the league and each of them had spent time on their models at home before arriving. Positions changed throughout the afternoon as they learned more. In a tense final 60 minutes of racing, Arthur Pace from Paris, took home the Paris Summit Champion cup with a lap time of 13.87 seconds. Second place went to “JO” (Wajdi Fathallah), who attended a DeepRacer meet up before the AWS Summit and secured a 15.5 second lap. The third place finisher was Matthieu Rousseau (16.00 seconds). Matthieu worked on his model with fellow engineering student (and Paris Champion) Arthur Pace for the last 2 weeks in order to land on the podium!

The 2019 developer journey continues

On April 10, the AWS DeepRacer League will be at the AWS Summit in Singapore. The Summit there offers an opportunity to get hands-on with AWS DeepRacer. There will be multiple workshops and hours of live racing. You can follow the action live on at www.deepracerleague.com. Coming soon is the AWS DeepRacer Virtual League. Get ready today by taking the digital training course for reinforcement learning and AWS DeepRacer.

Developers, start your engines! Your journey to becoming a machine learning developer begins with the AWS DeepRacer League.


About the Author

Alexandra Bush is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for AWS AI. She is passionate about how technology impacts the world around us and enjoys being able to help make it accessible to all. Out of the office she loves to run, travel and stay active in the outdoors with family and friends.