CMU Joins Roborace Autonomous Racing Championship

Byron SpiceWednesday, May 27, 2020

A student team from CMU is joining the upcoming season of Roborace, an international competition involving autonomous vehicles.

A student team from Carnegie Mellon University is joining the upcoming season of Roborace, an international competition involving autonomous, electrically powered vehicles.

CMU's Roborace team includes students and alumni from the Language Technologies Institute (LTI) and Robotics Institute, as well as the Information Networking Institute. It will be the first U.S. team to join Roborace and anticipates competing in a Roborace event later this year.

"Having the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects such as this is what attracted me to Carnegie Mellon," said Jimmy Herman, an ex-NFL athlete now enrolled in the LTI's Master of Computational Data Science (MCDS) program.

"We are pushing to innovate and create technology with impact potential beyond the racing domain," he added. "Roborace 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."

Carnegie Mellon has been a leader in autonomous driving research for four decades, and claims such notable achievements as its 2007 victory in the $2 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Urban Challenge, an autonomous street race. CMU researchers continue to work with a variety of automakers and autonomous vehicle firms to advance the field.

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. The CMU team will join five other organizations competing in the 2020-2021 series.

"The CMU team's goals align perfectly with Roborace's, which is to accelerate the development of autonomous technology through competition," said Chip Pankow, Roborace's chief championship officer. "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."

"Professional master's students in CMU's School of Computer Science bring to the team a diverse set of backgrounds in artificial intelligence, ranging from computer vision and natural language processing to robotics and reinforcement learning," said Anirudh Koul, a MCDS alumnus and the team's coach.

Roborace is the world's first racing series for autonomous driving systems. It was created to accelerate the development of autonomous software by pushing the technology to its limits in a range of controlled environments, and to educate and inform the world about autonomous driving.

The coming season is the second development season for Roborace, with its 2020-2021 schedule expected to comprise twelve championship rounds.

In the 2019 development season, Roborace hosted six events throughout the UK and Europe, providing a variety of challenges in the areas of performance, object avoidance, localization and precision. Teams delivered close competition that included a season-opening world's first: a completely autonomous racing pass as competition vehicles overtook each other at the Circuito Monteblanco racetrack in Spain.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |<br>Virginia Alvino Young | 412-268-8356 |