Duckietown Foundation

Duckietown Foundation

The Duckietown Foundation promotes the Duckietown project by coordinating volunteers and organizing scientific and educational activities.

Our Mission

Our mission is to make the world excited about the beauty, the fun, the importance, and the challenges of robotics and AI, through learning experiences that are tangible, accessible, and inclusive.

We achieve this mission by designing freely-available robotics platforms and curricula for all levels of education, and promoting its use in the world.

Robotics and AI

Beauty

Fun

Importance

Challenges

The beauty and the fun

AI and robotics are the most beautiful disciplines – it’s mankind’s attempt at creating artificial creatures that think and act like us.

And it’s fun, seeing robots go!

The importance and the challenges

AI and robotics will change our world. Everybody should understand the possibilities, the current status and how much is left to do.

Learning experiences

Tangible

Accessible

Inclusive

Experiences

While most of our activity results in the development of a hardware and software platform, the platform is only a means to an end: we care about the experience that is enabled by the platform.

Tangible

We believe that to learn robotics you have to be able to touch a robot. We learn by handling and doing.

We join the maker spirit with the academic spirit: the experiences are fun, but there is also a path of academic learning.

Accessible

We strive to design a hardware/software platform that is inexpensive and experiences that are easily reproducible.

Inclusive

We promote the broad understanding of the effects of robotics and AI in society, and we want to reach previously underserved demographics.

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.

Going global

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 universities 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 wanted to expand the use of Duckietown dramatically.

To achieve this, we needed 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 launched a successful kickstarter campaign and we now have an easier way for people to acquire the hardware.

The AI Driving Olympics

The Duckietown Foundation debuted the AI Driving Olympics (AI-DO), a competition focused on AI for self-driving cars, in December 2018 at the premiere machine learning conference: Neural Information Processing Systems conference (NeurIPS) in Montreal. It was the first competition to ever take place at a machine learning conference with real robots.

AI-DO2 will be held at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May 2019.

What’s next?

The Duckietown Project is an ever-evolving organism. We are continually looking for ways to improve and accomplish our mission. We are always looking for motivated individuals who want to help us grow. If you use Duckietown for teaching or research and want to contribute please get in touch.

Our Team

Liam Paull (UMontréal)

Coordinates science and education

Andrea Censi (ETH Zürich)

Coordinates software development and technical infrastructure

Jacopo Tani (ETH Zürich)

Coordinates operations and hardware development

Stefanie Tellex (Brown)

Coordinates the DuckieSky initiative

Matthew Walter (TTIC)

Coordinates the Duckietown Junior effort

Nick Wang (NCTU)

Coordinates the DuckiePond initiative

Kirill Krinkin (SPb ETU)

Coordinates the Duckietown Russia effort

Thank you to our generous benefactors

Supporters

donations of $100 or more

Jaan Kittask

Sally Janson Cooke

Massimo Gatti

Defenders

donations of $500 or more

Patrons

donations of $1000 or more

Emilio Frazzoli

Legal Information

The Duckietown Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation in the state of Massachusetts, USA.

Address for correspondence:

Duckietown Foundation US, Inc.
6 Liberty Square
PMB #217
Boston, MA 02109

The AI Driving Olympics at NIPS 2018

Authors:

Andrea Censi Liam Paull, Jacopo Tani, Julian Zilly, Thomas Ackermann, Oscar Beijbom, Berabi Berkai, Gianmarco Bernasconi, Anne Kirsten Bowser, Simon Bing, Pin-Wei David Chen, Yu-Chen Chen, Maxime Chevalier-Boisvert, Breandan Considine, Andrea Daniele, Justin De Castri, Maurilio Di Cicco, Manfred Diaz, Paul Aurel Diederichs, Florian Golemo, Ruslan Hristov, Lily Hsu, Yi-Wei Daniel Huang, Chen-Hao Peter Hung, Qing-Shan Jia, Julien Kindle, Dzenan Lapandic, Cheng-Lung Lu, Sunil Mallya, Bhairav Mehta, Aurel Neff, Eryk Nice, Yang-Hung Allen Ou, Abdelhakim Qbaich, Josefine Quack, Claudio Ruch, Adam Sigal, Niklas Stolz, Alejandro Unghia, Ben Weber, Sean Wilson, Zi-Xiang Xia, Timothius Victorio Yasin, Nivethan Yogarajah, Yoshua Bengio, Tao Zhang, Hsueh-Cheng Wang, Matthew Walter, Stefano Soatto, Magnus Egerstedt, Emilio Frazzoli,

Published at RSS Workshop on New Benchmarks, Metrics, and Competitions for Robotic Learning

Link: Available here

Website Developer Application

Software Developer Application

Guide for instructors

Getting started for Duckietown Instructors

Vision

The Duckietown platform contains everything you need to teach an undergraduate or graduate level class on AI and robotics; from the off-the-shelf hardware plans, open source software, to the weekly lecture materials.

The materials can be used in two ways:

  1. Class materials – you use the platform and associated education materials to teach a class on robot autonomy. 
  2. As an experimental platform – where the hardware and software are used as the laboratory component of another class.


Development of the “class-in-a-box”

What the “class-in-a-box” will include:

  • Slides, lecture videos (for inspiration or flipped classroom)
  • Python notebooks
  • Lecture notes
  • Exercises
  • Robot-centered activities and demos
  • An instructor’s guide

About the community

  • If you bring Duckietown to your institution, your students will be joining a fun, global community, which includes worldwide collaboration and competition!

“Duckietown was much more than just a class, it was a hands-on deep dive into hardware, software, and systems integration, and, most of all, it was a blast!”
Teddy Ort
Teddy OrtStudent at MIT
“The Duckietown class is the autonomous driving pie: the filling is hardcore robotics, the casing is artificial intelligence, and as a plus you get some funny ducks on top!”
Manfred Diaz
Manfred DiazStudent at Université de Montréal
“Teaching the Duckietown class was a wonderful experience for me and my students. The materials are great and the hands-on experience with the robot really helps reinforce the curriculum.”
Matthew Walter
Matthew WalterProfessor at TTI Chicago

Next steps

  • Take a look at all the resources that we have available to make building your class as smooth as possible
  • You can order hardware kits.

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State-of-the-art robotics and AI made tangibleaccessible, and fun!

A learning autonomy ecosystem

Duckietown offers a platform to instructors, professionals, and researchers for cutting-edge robotics and AI teaching, training, and research.  

What we do

What's new?

The Duckietown project

Duckietown started as a class at MIT in 2016. You can watch the “Duckumentary” created about the first class.

Duckietown is now a worldwide initiative to realize a new vision for AI and robotics education: state-of-the-art, hands-on, and for all.

Since 2018 the project is coordinated by the non-profit Duckietown Foundation, US.

Learn about the Duckietown Foundation >

A DB21 Duckietown in a Duckietown equipped with Autolab infrastructure.

The Duckietown platform

Duckietown has many components that work together to provide a joyful learning experience. The most tangible is the hardware: DuckieBots and DuckieTowns. DuckieBots are low-cost mobile robots that are built almost entirely from off-the-shelf parts. DuckieTowns are the urban environments: roads, constructed from exercise mats and tape, and the signage which the robots use to navigate around. DuckieTowns can be transformed into smart cities (“Autolabs”) by adding traffic lights and watchtowers. Discover the platform >

Duckietown for education

The Duckietown platform was designed as part of a university AI/robotics curriculum.

It has been used in prestigious universities, such as MIT, ETH Zürich, Université de Montréal, and many more.

We are developing a “class-in-a-box” that comprises lectures, exercises, and theory, that combine with the physical robot platform to reinforce the core concepts.

If you are an instructor, get started here >

Duckietown for research

The Duckietown platform has also been used extensively for research on mobile robotics and physically embodied AI systems, with Autolabs providing accessible means for reproducible research.

You might be interested in the papers about Duckietown, and joining the AI Driving Olympics.

If you are a researcher, get started here >

Duckietown for "Makademics"

Makademics (makers + academics) are people who want to learn and build on their own and also want a deep understanding of how things are working.

We want to allow everybody to learn AI and robotics even if they are not at elite institutions like MIT and ETH Zürich.

With Duckietown you can build your own robot, follow along with our lectures and interact with a global community of learners.

If you feel the Makademic spirit, start here >

Testimonials

“Teaching the Duckietown class was a wonderful experience for me and my students. The materials are great and the hands-on experience with the robot really helps reinforce the curriculum.”
Matthew Walter, Prof.
Toyota Technological Institute in Chicago (TTIC)
“Starting from MIT CSAIL, Duckietown has grown into a global initiative that is inspiring students around the world to learn about self-driving cars, as well as the science and engineering of autonomy.”
Daniela Rus, Prof.
Director, Computer Science and AI Lab (CSAIL), MIT
"Spending the summer in Duckietown at MIT made me discover a completely new world: I understood that education can be a game and learning can be fun!"
Valeria Cagnina
Entrepreneur, 16 years old
"If University were like learning how to play a new instrument, where lessons are the exercises and exams the final auditions, Duckietown would be the full-blown rock concert, where you play for your fans and look to your heroes with admiration."
Gioele Zardini
Ph. D. Student, ETH Zurich
“The Duckietown class is the autonomous driving pie: the filling is hardcore robotics, the casing is artificial intelligence, and as a plus, you get some funny ducks on top!”
Manfred Diaz
Ph. D. Student, University of Montreal
“Duckietown was much more than just a class, it was a hands-on deep dive into hardware, software, and systems integration, and, most of all, it was a blast!”
Teddy Ort
Ph. D. Student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tweets (hidden)

Duckietown is a computational ecosystem for tangible and accessible state-of-the-art learning experiences in robotics and AI.

providing learning experiences that are

What's new?

The Duckietown project

Duckietown started as a class at MIT in 2016. You can watch the “duckumentary” created about the first class. Duckietown is now a worldwide initiative to realize a new vision for AI/robotics education. Since 2018 the project is coordinated by the non-profit Duckietown Foundation. Read more: The Duckietown Foundationour missionour story; how you can help.

The Duckietown platform

The platform has two parts: Duckiebots and Duckietowns. 

Duckiebots are low-cost mobile robots that are built almost entirely from off-the-shelf parts. The only onboard sensor is the forward-facing camera. 

Duckietowns are the roads, which are constructed from exercise mats and tape, and the signage which the robots use to navigate around. 

Read more about the platform…

Duckietown for education

The Duckietown platform designed as part of an a university AI/robotics curriculum. 

It has been used in prestigious universities, such as MIT, ETH Zürich, and Université de Montréal.

We are developing a “class-in-a-box” that comprises lectures, exercises, and theory, that combine with the physical robot platform to reinforce the core concepts. 

If you are an instructor interested in using Duckietown, read here to get started.

Duckietown for research

The Duckietown platform has also been used extensively for research on mobile robotics and physically embodied AI systems. 

If you are a researcher, read more about getting started about using the platform for research. See also: papers using Duckietown, the researchers using Duckietown.

Duckietown for "Makademics"

Makademics (makers + academics) are people who want to learn and build on their own and also want a very deep understanding of how things are working.

 
We want to allow everybody to learn AI/robotics even if they are not at elite institutions like MIT and ETH Zürich.
 

With Duckietown you can easily build your own robot, and follow along our lectures and interact with a global community of learners.

Speaking Request

Media Request

Forum

You can also connect with the Duckietown community on our slack

Front page Forums

Mission

Our Mission

Our mission is to make the world excited about the beauty, the fun, the importance, and the challenges of robotics and AI, through learning experiences that are tangible, accessible, and inclusive.

We achieve this mission by designing freely-available robotics platforms and curricula for all levels of education, and promoting its use in the world.

Robotics and AI

Beauty
Fun
Importance
Challenges

The beauty and the fun

AI and robotics are the most beautiful disciplines – it’s mankind’s attempt at creating artificial creatures that think and act like us.

And it’s fun, seeing robots go!

The importance and the challenges

AI and robotics will change our world. Everybody should understand the possibilities, the current status and how much is left to do.

Learning experiences

Tangible
Accessible
Inclusive

Experiences

While most of our activity results in the development of a hardware and software platform, the platform is only a means to an end: we care about the experience that is enabled by the platform.

Tangible

We believe that to learn robotics you have to be able to touch a robot. We learn by handling and doing.

We join the maker spirit with the academic spirit: the experiences are fun, but there is also a path of academic learning.

Accessible

We strive to design a hardware/software platform that is inexpensive and experiences that are easily reproducible.

Inclusive

We promote the broad understanding of the effects of robotics and AI in society, and we want to reach previously underserved demographics.