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Why RRC Polytech students are racing miniature cars

A building at Red River College Polytechnic was transformed into an action-packed race track on Thursday as a way to teach students machine-learning skills.

The transformation was part of the Winnipeg DeepRacer Competition, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). This competition saw 30 teams, including eight student teams from RRC Polytech, work with and race AI-operated miniature cars.

“Because of this competition, I learned more about reinforcement learning, machine learning and AI,” said

David Hung, a student at RRC Polytech who participated in the competition,

“They are all data related and that’s what I find fascinating.”

The fully autonomous race cars are 1/18th in scale and include all-wheel drive, monster truck tires, an HD video camera, and an on-board computer.

Coral Kennett, head of education with Amazon Web Services Canada, explained that the cars are driven using machine learning technologies.

“You can go onto the platform, you develop your machine learning models and it actually drives the car and you can race them,” she said.

During the competition, teams got the chance to train, evaluate, and tune the miniature cars before competing on the track. The goal of the event was to help participants build, train, and deploy machine learning models, and also explore how artificial intelligence will impact the future.

“Machine learning skills are one of the fastest growing, in-demand skills in Canada,” Kennett said.

“We really want to make it accessible for a lot of people to learn these skills without a lot of experience.” Top Stories


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