The story of Duckietown
The Duckietown project was conceived in 2016 as a graduate class at MIT. A group of over 15 Postdocs and 5 professors were involved in the initial development.
The goal was to build a platform that was small-scale and cute yet still preserved the real scientific challenges inherent in a full-scale real autonomous robot platform.
Here is the very first lecture for Duckietown in 2016:
The first demo
The first class had 24 students and culminated with a year-end demo in a full sized hockey rink. There were over 3000 visitors.
After the 2016 class, many of the key organizers left MIT for other opportunities.
In the meantime, all of the pieces of the experience (the slides, the demos, the platform, the software) were made openly available and other institutions began to take interest.
The platform has since been used at several institutions around the globe, including NCTU in Taiwan, Tsinghua in China, and RPI in the United States among many others.
The joint class of 2017
In the Fall of 2017, Liam Paull (Montréal), Andrea Censi (ETHZ), Matthew Walter (TTIC) and Hsueh-Cheng Wang (NCTU) decided to teach an official coordinated edition of the class. In this version, students from classes at ETH Zürich, Université de Montréal, and TTI Chicago and NCTU worked collaboratively in groups that spanned continents.
The result was a coordinated global demo that showcased the students’ achievements.
Present and future
The 2018 Kickstarter
We want to expand the use of Duckietown dramatically.
To achieve this, we need to make the Duckietown platform cheaper, easier to obtain and able to provide more learning experiences and opportunities for performing cutting edge research.
To achieve this objective we have launched a kickstarter campaign.
The AI Driving Olympics
The Duckietown Foundation is excited to announce the official opening of the the AI Driving Olympics (AI-DO), a new competition focused on AI for self-driving cars.
The first edition of the AI Driving Olympics will take place in December 2018, at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference (NIPS 2018), the premiere machine learning conference, in Montréal. This is the first competition ever that will take place at a machine learning conference with real robots.
The second version will take place at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2019).