AI-DO technical updates

Here are some technical updates regarding the competition. Thanks for all the bug reports via Github and Slack!

Changes to platform model in simulations

We have changed the purely kinematic model in the simulations with one that is more similar to the real robots obtained by system identification. You can find the model here. Properties:
  • The inputs to the model are the two PWM signals to the wheels, left and right. (not [speed, omega] like last year)
  • The maximum velocity is ~2 m/s. The rise time is about 1 second.
  • There is a simulated delay of 100 ms.
We will slightly perturb the parameters of the model in the future to account for robot-robot variations, but this is not implemented yet. All the submissions have been re-evaluated. You can see the difference between the two models
purely kinematic platform model more realistic platform model
  The new model is much more smooth. Overall we expect that the new model makes the competition easier both in simulation, and obviously, in the transfer.

Infrastructure changes

  • We have update the Duckietown Shell and commands several times to fix a few reported bugs.
  • We have started with provisioning AWS cloud evaluators. There are still sporadic problems. You should know that if your job fails with the host-error¬†code, the system thinks it is a problem of the evaluator and it will try on another evaluator.

Open issues

  • Some timeouts are a bit tight. Currently we allow 20 minutes like for NeurIPS, but this year we have much more realistic simulation and better visualization code that¬† take more time. If your submission fails after 20 minutes of evaluation, this is the reason.
  • We are still working on the glue code for running the submissions on the real robots. Should be a couple of days away.
  • Some of the changes to the models/protocol above are not in the docs yet.
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