CMU team joins autonomous racing championship

May 29, 2020 //By Rich Pell
CMU team joins autonomous racing championship
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has announced that a student team from CMU is joining the upcoming season of Roborace - an international competition involving autonomous, electrically powered vehicles.

Roborace supplies a platform for the competition, including venues, vehicles, compute platforms, and sensor stacks, while teams bring their AI algorithms to compete head-to-head on a level playing field. Carnegie Mellon has been a leader in autonomous driving research for decades, and its team - comprising students and alumni from multiple departments of CMU's School of Computer Science - will be the first U.S. team to join Roborace.

"Having the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects such as this is what attracted me to Carnegie Mellon," says Jimmy Herman, an ex-NFL athlete now enrolled in CMU's Master's degree program in Computational Data Science (MCDS). "We are pushing to innovate and create technology with impact potential beyond the racing domain. Roborace's autonomous racing series provides an excellent platform to push the limits of autonomous driving systems, and it allows the public to see advancements in artificial intelligence in a more engaging way than driving statistics."

The CMU team members have a diverse set of backgrounds in artificial intelligence, ranging from computer vision to natural language processing to robotics and reinforcement learning. They will join five other organizations competing in the 2020-2021 series, which brings leading artificial intelligence researchers from around the world to compete in the field of autonomous driving.

Chip Pankow, the Chief Championship Officer at Roborace says, "The CMU team's goals align perfectly with Roborace's which is to accelerate the development of autonomous technology through competition. The technology in our cars and competition structure has been created to expose teams to a variety of edge-case scenarios that are relevant to real-world problems facing the industry today."

Anirudh Koul, a MCDS alumnus and the team's coach adds, "Having access to the hardware from Roborace, which can run at 200 miles per hour, is just adding fuel to their drive."

Season Beta is the second development season for Roborace. Its forthcoming 2020-2021 schedule is expected to consist of twelve championship rounds.


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