​AWS just launched a four-wheel drive mini-race car

The AWS DeepRacer is a 1/18th scale radio-controlled, four-wheel drive car, complete with its own racing league.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a fully autonomous 1/18th scale race car driven by reinforced learning.

Making the announcement on Wednesday at re:Invent, CEO Andy Jassy explained that the AWS DeepRacer is a fully autonomous race car designed to get customers to adopt reinforcement learning.

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Reinforcement learning is one of the technologies used to make self-driving cars a reality, and Jassy touted the DeepRacer as the best way to go "hands-on" in learning about it.

On the hardware and software side, the DeepRacer boasts an Intel Atom processor, a 4 megapixel camera with 1080p resolution, fast WiFi, multiple USB ports, and about two hours of battery life.

In a statement, AWS explained that the Atom processor runs Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Robot Operating System, and the Intel OpenVino computer vision toolkit.

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AWS DeepRacer also includes a fully-configured cloud environment that can be used to train reinforcement learning models, powered by the also newly announced reinforcement learning feature in Amazon SageMaker.

It also has a 3D simulation environment powered by AWS RoboMaker.

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"You can train an autonomous driving model against a collection of predefined race tracks included with the simulator and then evaluate them virtually or download them to a AWS DeepRacer car and verify performance in the real world," added AWS GM of deep learning and AI Matt Wood.

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AWS is also launching a new sports league, the AWS DeepRacer league, which it touts as the world's first autonomous racing league. There will be 20 races in 2019, culminating in the championship cup which will be held at re:Invent 2019.

Jassy also told his audience that there would be an "accelerated version" of the championship at this year's re:Invent.

For those unsuccessful in winning one at this year's re:Invent, the AWS DeepRacer can be pre-ordered for $249 on Amazon.com.

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The announcement followed Jassy unveiling Amazon SageMaker RL, which is aimed at making available new machine learning capabilities in Amazon SageMaker to build, train, and deploy with reinforced learning.

It amounts to "reinforced learning for every developer and data scientist," Jassy said.

Disclosure: Asha McLean travelled to AWS re:Invent as a guest of AWS

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