Written by Prof. Allen Yang, Executive Director of Vive Center for Enhanced Reality
It can only be described as an understatement that winning a Top 3 ranking in 2022 season Indy Autonomous Racing has never been a topic discussed among our team members when we arrived at Dallas. We ARE a clear underdog, starting competing in AI racing events just in 2021 and going against a slew of battle-tested European racing teams. So we are beyond thrilled to cap out our 2022 experience with a Runner-Up Silver Medal win for the Indy Autonomous Challenge at Dallas on November 11, 2022.
First, we have to give credits to all graduate and undergraduate students of the Berkeley ROAR Racing team:
- Project Manager: CK Wolfe, Aman Saraf.
- Racing Perception: Aman Saraf (lead), Tianlun Zhang (lead), Junjie Chen, Xuan Liu, Franco Leonardo Huang, Cyrus Hung, Carl Gan, and Yunhao Cao.
- Vehicle Dynamics: Jad Yahya (lead).
- Vehicle Simulation: Jazzy Rao (lead), Aman Saraf, Tianlun Zhang, Xiushi Shen, and Aaron Xie (a highschool ROAR Ambassador).
Our students are trained to develop cutting-edge AI racing solutions from two Berkeley programs:
- First, we have been running ROAR Racing graduate study program with the Coleman Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership . Most of our graduate students have been recruited from their strong pool of candidates. Thanks to the interdisciplinary organization, the program allows the best experienced students from both ME and EECS Departments to team up, leading to a diverse skill set that is necessary to develop on a full-scale 200-mph capable racing vehicle.
- Second, many of our undergraduate students, including some high schoolers accepted through our ROAR Ambassadors Fellowship, have been trained via our STEM educational program called Robot Open Autonomous Racing (ROAR) Academy.
At UC Berkeley, the ROAR Racing platform has been made available for several graduate-level research courses, including Robotics (EE 106/206), Deep Reinforcement Learning (CS 285), Computer Vision (CS 280), and AR/VR (CS 294–137). We are proud to see our ROAR ecosystem continues to support advanced research projects at the highest academy level.
For 2023 Academic Year, we are excited to accept three new ROAR Ambassadors fellows and one second-year fellow from our partner high schools that run their strong STEM and Robotics programs. It is our strong belief that high quality AI education should start from High School to immerse and strengthen our next generation of innovators with research curiosity, scientific programming rigor, and open source collaboration culture.
The following are our 2023 Academy Year ROAR Ambassadors Fellows:
- Benny Liu from Vally Christian High School of San Jose, CA.
- Vivian Zhu from Vista Del Lago High School of Folsom, CA.
- Harris Song from Walnut High School of Walnut, CA.
- Aaron Xie from Campolindo High School of Moraga, CA (second-year extension)
Where do we go from here? We always believe the future is brighter and there are more good things in store for us as innovators and developers. Our immediate goal for 2023 is to continue our endeavor to democratize AI education and research through expanding high-quality, accessible, open-source competitions. Together with our other UC campuses and their faculty collaborators, we plan to launch an intercollegiate AI Go Kart Competition. We are calling interested industry partners and other universities to join forces to create a high-caliber, best-in-class research and education platform for the next generation innovators.
Finally, allow me to share a video demo of our open-source AI Go Kart Racing platform as a preview of what is to come for 2023.