What’s around the turn in 2021? AWS DeepRacer League announces new divisions, rewards, and community leagues

AWS DeepRacer allows you to get hands on with machine learning (ML) through a fully autonomous 1/18th scale race car driven by reinforcement learning, a 3D racing simulator on the AWS DeepRacer console, a global racing league, and hundreds of customer-initiated community races.

The action is already underway at the Championship Cup at AWS re:Invent 2020, with the Wildcard round of racing coming to a close and Round 1 Knockouts officially underway, streaming live on Twitch (updated schedule coming soon). Check out the Championship Cup blog for up-to-date news and schedule information.

We’ve got some exciting announcements about the upcoming 2021 racing season. The AWS DeepRacer League is introducing new skill-based Open and Pro racing divisions in March 2021, with five times as many opportunities for racers to win prizes, and recognition for participation and performance. Another exciting new feature coming in 2021 is the expansion of community races into community leagues, enabling organizations and racing enthusiasts to set up their own racing leagues and race with their friends over multiple races. But first, we’ve got a great deal for racers in December!

December ‘tis the season for racing

Start your engines and hit the tracks in December for less! We’re excited to announce that starting Dec 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020 we’re reducing the cost of training and evaluation for AWS DeepRacer by over 70% (from $3.50 to $1 per hour) for the duration of AWS re:Invent 2020. It’s a great time to learn, compete, and get excited for what’s coming up next year.]

Introducing new racing divisions and digital rewards in 2021

The AWS DeepRacer League’s 2021 season will introduce new skill-based Open and Pro racing divisions. The new racing divisions include five times as many opportunities for racers of all skill levels to win prizes and recognition for participation and performance. AWS DeepRacer League’s new Open and Pro divisions enable all participants to win prizes by splitting the current Virtual Circuit monthly leaderboard into two skill-based divisions to level the competition, each with their own prizes, while maintaining a high level of competitiveness in the League.

The Open division is where all racers begin their ML journey and rewards participation each month with new vehicle customizations and other rewards. Racers can earn their way into the Pro division each month by finishing in the top 10 percent of time trial results. The Pro division celebrates competition and accomplishment with DeepRacer merchandise, DeepRacer Evo cars, exclusive prizes, and qualification to the Championship Cup at re:Invent 2021.

Similar to previous seasons, winners of the Pro division’s monthly race automatically qualify for the Championship Cup with an all-expenses paid trip to re:Invent 2021 for a chance to lift the 2021 Cup, receive a $10,000 machine learning education scholarship, and an F1 Grand Prix experience for two. Starting with the 2021 Virtual Circuit Pre-Season, racers can win multiple prizes each month—including dozens of customizations to personalize your car in the Virtual Circuit (such as car bodies, paint colors, and wraps), several official AWS DeepRacer branded items (such as racing jackets, hats, and shirts), and hundreds of DeepRacer Evo cars, complete with stereo cameras and LiDAR.

Participating in Open and Pro Division races can earn you new digital rewards, like this new racing skin for your virtual racing fun!

“The DeepRacer League has been a fantastic way for thousands of people to test out their newly learnt machine learning skills.“ says AWS Hero and AWS Machine Learning Community Founder, Lyndon Leggate. “Everyone’s competitive spirit quickly shows through and the DeepRacer community has seen tremendous engagement from members keen to learn from each other, refine their skills, and move up the ranks. The new 2021 league format looks incredible and the Open and Pro divisions bring an interesting new dimension to racing! It’s even more fantastic that everyone will get more chances for their efforts to be rewarded, regardless of how long they’ve been racing. This will make it much more engaging for everyone and I can’t wait to take part!”

Empowering organizations to create their own leagues with multi-race seasons and admin tools

With events flourishing around the globe virtually, we’ll soon offer the ability for racers to not only create their own race, but also create multiple races, similar to the monthly Virtual Circuit, with community leagues. Race organizers will be able to set up the whole season, decide on qualification rounds, and use bracket elimination for head-to-head races finalists.

Organizations and individuals can race with their friends and colleagues with Community races.

The new series of tools enables race organizers to run their own events, including access to racer information, model training details, and logs to engage with their audience and develop learnings from participants. Over the past year, organizations such as Capital One, JPMC, Accenture, and Moody’s have already successfully managed internal AWS DeepRacer leagues. Now, even more organizations, schools, companies, and private groups of friends can use AWS DeepRacer and the community leagues as a fun learning tool to actively develop their ML skills.

“We have observed huge participation and interest in AWS DeepRacer events,” says Chris Thomas, Managing Director of Technology & Innovation at Moody’s Accelerator. “They create opportunities for employees to challenge themselves, collaborate with colleagues, and enhance ML skills. We view this as a success from the tech side with the additional benefit of growing our innovation culture.“

AWS re:Invent is a great time to learn more about ML

As you get ready for what’s in store for 2021, don’t forget that registration is still open for re:Invent 2020. Be sure to check out our three informative virtual sessions to help you along your ML journey with AWS DeepRacer:Get rolling with Machine Learning on AWS DeepRacer”, “Shift your Machine Learning model into overdrive with AWS DeepRacer analysis tools” and “Replicate AWS DeepRacer architecture to master the track with SageMaker Notebooks.” You can take all the courses during re:Invent or learn at your own speed. It’s up to you. Register for re:Invent today and find out more on when these sessions are available to watch live or on-demand. 

Start training today and get ready for the 2021 season

Remember to take advantage of the December cost reductions for training and evaluation for AWS DeepRacer by over 70% (from $3.50 to $1 per hour) for the duration of AWS re:Invent 2020. Take advantage of these low rates today and get ready for the AWS DeepRacer League 2021 season. Now is a great time to get rolling with ML and AWS DeepRacer. Watch this page for schedule and video updates all through AWS re:Invent 2020. Let’s get ready to race!

About the Author

Dan McCorriston is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for AWS Machine Learning. He is passionate about technology, collaborating with developers, and creating new methods of expanding technology education. Out of the office he likes to hike, cook and spend time with his family.

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