Amazon tempts developers to machine learning with toy race car
Amazon Web Services has revealed an autonomous racing toy at re:Invent 2018 in Las Vegas this week. The DeepRacer is a 1/18th scale all wheel drive monster truck that's aimed squarely at budding developers, who will create reinforced learning models in software, test them on a virtual race track and then train the toy car proper to compete in a real-world global racing championship.
The DeepRacer includes a built-in compute section featuring an Intel Atom processor, 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage and comes loaded with Ubuntu OS, Intel OpenVINO computer vision toolkit and ROS Kinetic (robot operating system). It's been designed to get developers into reinforcement learning, a form of machine learning that uses trial and error to achieve goals and successful outcomes.
Devs will start their machine learning journey by setting up reinforcement learning models in Amazon software. They'll use this "simple, yet powerful, interface" to train, test and tweak a virtual car in a cloud-based 3D racing simulator. The fine-tuned virtual learning model can then be uploaded to a community of like-minded machine learning enthusiasts.
"The AWS DeepRacer 3D racing simulator and car provides an ideal environment where you can test the latest reinforcement learning algorithms and simulation-to-real domain transfer methods," said Amazon Web Services.
The real-world car features a 4 megapixel camera, six USB ports (including one microUSB) and one HDMI, accelerometer and gyro sensors, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 7.4 V/1,100 mAh Li-pol battery for the drive section and a 13,600 mAh battery for the compute section.
The idea is that the developer would earn their reinforcement learning chops in a safe virtual environment, and then train the actual DeepRacer car before taking part in a new global racing league being launched early next year, with prizes up for grabs.
The DeepRacer is available for pre-order now for US$249 (list price is $399), ahead of release on March 6, 2019.