Start your engines! Morningstar Inc. has launched a global companywide competition using Amazon Web Services' DeepRacer. More than 445 Morningstar employees from eight countries have formed nearly 100 teams in the AWS DeepRacer League, programming and racing autonomous one-eighteenth scale race cars with onboard machine learning capabilities.
In addition to using virtual racetracks within the AWS DeepRacer simulator, physical tracks will be available at Morningstar offices to host several intracity corporate competitions.
Teams from Morningstar will receive one of Amazon's new self-driving cars "without a brain," explained James Rhodes, Morningstar's chief technology officer, in a phone interview. The competing teams must use AWS tools to program their cars and figure out how to make it drive around the track — and of course, how to make it drive around the track faster than all the other cars.
The competition is designed to both enhance employees' familiarity with AWS and also push greater adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning across Morningstar's business.
"It's a hands-on training program for our technology groups around the world," Mr. Rhodes said. "It's about trying to figure out how we can scale what we do within artificial intelligence and machine learning more broadly across the organization."
Winning teams will go on to compete in regional competitions, and those winners will then face off in Morningstar's global championship in September. Morningstar will then send those winners to compete for a place in the final at AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las Vegas in December, where developers from around the world will go head-to-head for the 2019 AWS DeepRacer League Cup.— James Comtois