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.

Front page

Learn autonomy with Duckietown

Robotics and AI made tangible, accessible and fun!

Providing learning experiences that are

What's new?

AI-DO Robotarium Evaluations Underway

We have started evaluating the submissions in our “robotarium”: Duckiebot onboard camera feed Robotarium watchtower camera feed To queue your submissions for robotarium evaluation, please

Read More »

Tweets

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.

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. 

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 by adding traffic lights and watchtowers.

Discover 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. You might also be interested in the papers about Duckietown.

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

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

We provide open-source software, classroom materials, simulation environment, datasets, a standardized hardware ecosystem, and distribute them internationally.

Testimonials

“Insegnare il corso di Duckietown è stata una bellissima esperienza per me e per i miei studenti. I materiali sono ottimi e l'esperienza pratica con il robot aiuta veramente a rinforzare il curriculum.”
Matthew Walter, Prof.
Toyota Technological Institute in Chicago (TTIC)
“Duckietown è stato molto più di un corso: un'immersione totale nell'hardware, software e integrazione di sistema, e, più di ogni altra cosa, un gran divertimento!”
Teddy Ort
Dottorando, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
“Duckietown è come una torta: la farcitura è robotica hardcore, la glassa è intelligenza artificiale e come extra hai divertenti papere di gomma per decorazione.”
Manfred Diaz
Dottorando,
Università di Montréal (UdM)
“Se l'università è come imparare a suonare uno strumento, dove le lezioni sono le esercitazioni e gli esami le audizioni finali, Duckietown è il concerto rock in grande scala, dove suoni per i tuoi fan e guardi con ammirazione i tuoi eroi.”
Gioele Zardini
Dottorando,
Politecnico Federale
di Zurigo (ETH)
“Passare l'estate in Duckietown al MIT mi ha fatto scoprire un mondo completamente nuovo: ho capito che l'educazione può essere un gioco e che imparare può essere divertente!”
Valeria Cagnina
Imprenditrice, 16 anni
“Partendo dal MIT CSAIL, Duckietown è diventata un'iniziativa globale che sta ispirando studenti in tutto il mondo a imparare come funzionano le macchine autonome, così come la scienza e l'ingegneria dell'automazione.”
Daniela Rus, Prof.
Direttore Laboratorio Informatica e Intelligenza Artificiale (CSAIL), MIT
providing learning experiences that are

What's new?

AI-DO Robotarium Evaluations Underway

We have started evaluating the submissions in our “robotarium”: Duckiebot onboard camera feed Robotarium watchtower camera feed To queue your submissions for robotarium evaluation, please

Read More »

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

Duckietown Foundation

The Duckietown Foundation

The Duckietown Foundation is the non-profit foundation which develops and promotes the Duckietown project.

Want to support us?

Need to get in touch?

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.

Read below to know our philosophy.

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 one. You learn by touching and doing.

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

Accessible

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

Inclusive

We wish to promote the broad understanding of the effects of AI/robotics 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

Volunteer staff

https://www.duckietown.org/wp-content/uploads/ap_avatars/1679091c5a880faf6fb5e6087eb1b2dc.jpg
Liam Paull (Université de Montréal) coordinates operations and strategy.
Andrea Censi (ETH Zürich, nuTonomy) coordinates software development and technical infrastructure.
Jacopo Tani (ETH Zürich) coordinates hardware development and distribution.
https://www.duckietown.org/wp-content/uploads/ap_avatars/c203d8a151612acf12457e4d67635a95.jpg
Kirsten Bowser Duckietown community organizer.
Matt Walter coordinates the Duckietown Junior effort.
https://www.duckietown.org/wp-content/uploads/ap_avatars/41ae36ecb9b3eee609d05b90c14222fb.jpg
Nick Wang leader of the Duckiepond initiative.

Stefanie Tellex leader of the Duckietown Air

 

Senior advisors

Liam Paull (UMontréal)

Coordinates science and education

andrea-headshot-autolab-small
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
6 Liberty Square
PMB #217
Boston, MA 02109

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.

Read below to know our philosophy.

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 one. You learn by touching and doing.

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

Accessible

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

Inclusive

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