AWS DeepRacer League Update #28 September Finale Special

This is one of the two remaining finale races this season. We’ve got a few rookies joining the race and challenge some of the regulars looking to secure their spots in the championships.

We are awaiting details about what to expect during the championships (apart from it being all-virtual again). It’s a terrible pity that we won’t be able to meet. DeepRacer draws people together, sparks collective curiosity, it’s not surprising that we have had so many racers over the last years and even less surprising that we’ve had so many of them join the Community.

In the meantime let’s have a look at how the racers did in the September finale.

AWS DeepRacer

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DeepRacer news

Championships announcement

AWS have announced that the 2021 Championships will happen virtually only. Because of this 2020 and 2021 trips have been replaced with value payouts.

Unfortunately this means we will not get to meet in person at AWS re:Invent this year.

NeurIPS 2021 DeepRacer Challenge

There’s a totally new challenge available and you can join it in October. Winners will get AWS credits, DeepRacers and ability to co-author a paper about their rewarding strategy.

More details:

October races

These are the last regular season races in AWS DeepRacer League. If September tracks were difficult, October ones have topped that. I mean, have a look at them:

Open Division racers are facing 44.04 meters with two nice straights and a few chicanes while Pro racers need to complete 69.96 meters of track with some insane turns and relatively small straights. The turns are proving pretty challenging to many racers, taken into account how many resets we are seeing in the top 20.

The race format

Playa Super Raceway track (Source: AWS DeepRacer Console)

Race info:

  • 59.8 meters long
  • 107 centimeters wide
  • Object avoidance format with five boxes on the track
  • Racers are trying to complete as many laps as possible, the fastest lap counts
  • Each collision results in a three seconds penalty and each driving off the track results in five seconds penalty
  • Top 3 qualify into the championships during the AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas
  • Top 10 (who haven’t won it just yet) win an AWS DeepRacer EVOs (if my calculations are correct, the last person to win a car was in 42nd spot in September)
  • The track is divided into three sectors and in the stream they have colours assigned: green means the fastest time for a given racer so far, purple is the fastest time across all racers and yellow means slower than the fastest time for that sector for a given racer

Stream recording

You can watch the whole race recording with a commentary and interviews by Blaine Sundrud and Ryan Myrehn:

Round One

Carvai has started with the snail shell but not at all slow. The car has gone past the first box without an issue, second with a single reset and 7 resets on the third. Luckily the rest of the lap was smooth and after a time of 59.228s the car started with a flying start. That one was clean and complete in 21.997s, followed by a few resets in lap three that have slowed him down to over 36 seconds and then around 29 seconds in fourth. Last attempt has been clean but not fast enough and completed in 23 seconds.

JPMC-BMTH-RacersOfTheLostArk started pretty fast but not very stable with collisions and off-tracks around boxes 2, 3 and 4 ended with a time of 42.983 after a spectacular double donut right before the finish line. Second lap has not been improved with a time of over one minute. Unfortunately third lap has not improved.

RobinCastro-DBS has returned to top 16 to fight for his chance to qualify into the championships. In the first lap Robin has not given up on a chance to smash box three and a few off-tracks. A total of five resets have lead to a time of 40.018. Lap two has again had collisions with boxes 3-4 and a time just above the previous one, so no improvement. In third lap Robin has managed to reduce the count of resets and his time went down to 33.018 seconds and in fourth he had even fewer problems and improved to 29.754 seconds. This run has ended with a lap in the area of 34 seconds.

dartjason is a regular in the finale. The first lap opened up with four resets and a time of 39.780 seconds. Box three has proven challenging again to him and has prevented any improvements in lap two or three. In lap four dartjason has managed to stabilise the car’s behaviour and improve to 34.602 seconds, putting him in the third spot for now.

JPMC-Singapore-Chetak has joined the JPMC racers in the finale and with a single reset opened up with a decent 26.578. A slight improvment in lap two to 25.856 seconds and then a few resets in lap three meant no improvement. The model seemed pretty stable so it felt there was a potential for a clean lap eventually. Laps four and five were pretty close to the best time and a few resets meant lap six was a bit slower. Chetak has landed in the second place for now but the race doesn’t feel over for him.

Penguin-DNPds is the most persistent DNP racer this season. A clown shell may have jinxed the model which decided to have some fun with box three and a time of 57.344 seconds. Lap two started better in sector one but two more resets. Still great improvement to 33.085 with the rest of the lap clean. Lap three improved slightly with time of 31.533s followed by a slower one in the last timed run.

Matt has chosen the snail skin. He had problem with boxes 3 and 5 and had a decent time of 31.608s. In lap two there were similar problems but with more resets, and no improvements. Laps that followed were closer to 40 seconds. It seemed that there was stability in the cars behaviour, just the same boxes were a challenge.

Rober started with the same challenge on this months Box of Doom™. Still the time was 32.009, not bad. The second lap was brilliantly clean with a time of 21.798 s. Lap three was clean again, just a notch slower. A few resets in lap four. Lap five started clean, with all boxes left intact and again just over the best time so far. Lap six clean again. Rober has managed to present a stability for a first place and took it.

SorinB has started with great speed but Box Three was no stranger to him. First lap time: 48.342s. Lap two has seen many resets again but managed to improve to time 40.869s. Lap three started with the fastest first sector in the race so far but the boxes have been a great challenge. Still the end time was 39.836s and 38.005s in the next lap. This was enough for the eighth spot.

AJM-Model-1 started the run cautiously but still could not avoid the third box, or five for that matter. 9 resets have lead to a time of 01:05.283. Second lap was much better with one reset and a time of 29.848s. Lap three had two resets and a time just above the previous one, followed by a flying lap with one reset and a time of 29.498s – enough for a fourth but four seconds away from a chance for the podium.

Ernesto has started with a few resets and a time of 40.186 s. Only two resets in lap two meant he went down to 31.860s. No improvements in lap three but he managed to clear box three in lap four and a time of 25.070s has put him in the third. Fifth lap had a time above that. He did say he had more to show in round two.

ADA from the Philippines has joined as a rookie pretty high in the qualifiers. He’s joined the Box Three Pinata party. Unfortunately it has proven very challenging with many collisions. ADA tried slowing down and speeding up but the car has not managed to get past the box. On the bright side, we have a new record on a reset count with a number of 38. No time clocked.

JPMC-Ace-Hyderabad has been around since 2020 and returned with a white shell-snail hybrid. He started fast with a purple second sector but has had a reset and a time of 26.115s. Two more resets and a time of 29 seconds in lap two. In lap three a slight improvement and a time of 25.466 making Ernesto sweat and still pushing it. No progress in lap fourth but fifth started well but a reset just past box five and a time minimally over 25.5 seconds. Fourth spot it is.

TonyJ is a regular from a Community. Sadly, The Box of Doom has blocked him in the first lap. He managed to get past it after 37 resets but failed to complete a lap.

JPMC-Rogue-Hyderabad started with a spin past a turn and followed with a Box 3 collision. Pretty stable after that, he clocked lap one at 30.720. He had another reset on box three and then an off-track on a tight corner and a collision with box five, so no improvement in lap two. It felt that the model was made to go on the edge which resulted in stability issues and many collisions. Last lap completed with two resets and a time of 30.067 but that’s not enough for a chance to qualify.

CGS-Huge-Hadr0n was another rookie and last racer in round one. Started really fast but only one off-track allowed him to open up with 26.325s. In lap two another off-track in the same place but a time of 24.937s in the third spot. Lap three went impressively clean with a great time of 22.719s reinforcing (excuse the pun) his position Laps five and six weren’t clean so no improvement delivered. In seventh lap he went for stability and completed a clean lap but just in the area of 23 seconds.

As CGS-Huge-Hadr0n has completed the podium selection for Round One, let’s have a look at the standings:

PlaceRacerTime 1
AWS DeepRacer League 2021 September Finale standings after round one

Round two

TonyJ returned to the track but again struggled to get past box three. After 37 crashes he completed his participation with a DNF.

ADA started with a crash on Box Three but did get past it soon after. With another off-track he managed to complete a lap at 34.739s. Two more resets in lap two did not prevent him from improving marginally with 34.512s. Another improvement in lap three with 31.668s and a slightly slower fourth at around 34 seconds again. In the last lap he managed to go down to 31.278s which is a much more satisfactory time to start with. Well done ADA!

JPMC-BMTH-RacersOfTheLostArk has started with a lot of speed and two off-tracks (no collisions) and a time of 33.053s. The model was struggling with stability. I suspect this was due to an action space on the verge of traction. He has eventually managed to get a great improvement of 29.201s. Congratulations again!

SorinB Started pretty stable with a single reset and a time of 26.751s around 2:17:00. Lap two was incredible, clean and fast with a time of 22.337, provisionally putting him in third and knocking Huge-Hadr0n down to fourth. Laps that followed involved a few resets each and SorinB couldn’t improve any more, now having to wait for response from other racers.

Dartjason started with a decent time of 30.446 but struggling with resets, preventing him from improving the time any further. Eventually, he got stuck at Box Three and after 110 seconds trying to get past it completed his finale participation.

Matt started fast before he crashed into the Box of Doom eight times, completing the first lap in 1:08.026. Fewer resets allowed him to improve with 38.334s but then more resets came in the last lap attempt.

Penguin-DNPds has started well but again got denied by Box Three, luckily only three times. Three more resets in lap one allowed him to clock 49.721s. Three resets in lap two and a time of 35.276. Lap three had only one reset and a lap of 28.380s. After that multiple collisions and off-tracks have prevented him from going faster. It’s a nice improvement nonetheless.

JPMC-Rogue-Hyderabad begins a series of three JPMC racers. One reset in lap one and a time of 26.631. Box Three has caused him trouble again, so has box five, so no improvement. In Lap three Rogue has made a clean run but 22.581 has been 0.25s too slow for that spot on the podium. Many resets followed after, not giving him a chance to improve. He attempted one last lap in hope for a clean run. He got past Boxes Three and Four and smashed into Box Five, denying his chances to improve. So close, but not close enough. Great attempt ending his second run of the day.

RobinCastro-DBS started pretty nice but got one off-track and a few crashes on box five lead him to a time of 37.103s. I think Robin might have started pushing a little too much, leading to many resets in laps two and three. In his last attempt he has failed to get past Box Three cleanly and thus ended the race without improvement in second round.

AJM-Model-1 started almost clean with a single reset and a time of 26.722s. Lap two was clean and AJM-Model-1 has clocked a great time of 23.130. Again, clean lap three has brought a further improvement at 22.072 putting him in third spot. Lap four was marginally slower but clean again. In lap five he’s gone clean again but slower across all sectors, no improvement again. Second reset came in sixth lap, giving him last chance to improve but a box contact in sector two denied his chances. Provisional third spot extended his hopes.

JPMC-Singapore-Chetak was fifth after round one and by the time of his run was out of top 8. He started well avoiding most the challenges before driving into Box Five and completing the first lap in 26.841s. Lap two has had two resets so no improvement there. Three resets in lap three didn’t help again. In lap four two more box collisions got in the way of improving again. Unfortunately Chetak has not managed to get a clean lap and ended his run in this finale.

JPMC-Ace-Hyderabad opened up with a time of 36.601. Then he went down to 25.007 and started lap three with a purple time in sector one and green sector two, but slow sector three denied a chance for further improvement. Laps to follow have faced a few resets, taking his chances to improve.

Ernesto has seen four more racers get in front of him in round two, moving him down to the eighth spot. Lap one started with a smash on Box Three and not a very bad time of 28.091s, but not enough to improve. Lap two had no history, he got past Boxes 1-4 in lap three, but got an off-track and a collision. In fourth he managed to clock 25.753s but had another collision on Box Five in lap five. Another collision in last lap, no improvement again and Ernesto will have a chance to participate in all eight finale races of this season.

CGS-Huge-Hadr0n started his attempt to reclaim the third spot, opening the run with an ambitious 22.387s, followed by 21.928s and then 21.471, moving him to first! He then followed with a few laps where he pushed to much and got some resets. He did get two more clean laps but did not improve his time. He didn’t have to, this time guarantees him the third spot along Rober and Carvai.

Carvai started with a single off-track. These are more pricey with a 5 seconds penalty giving him time of 27.656s. He clearly started pushing, hoping for a better spot but it seemed to be backfiring. His times in round two would not put him in top 8 but they didn’t have to. Carvai has punched the championship ticket.

Rober started with a single reset and a time of 27.445s. He may have pushed a little too much in second lap with multiple resets but in third he clocked a clean time of 22.051s – very good, but not quick enough to improve. After this he had two more resets in lap four. Lap five was clean again and very fast despite being yellow in all three sectors – your car might not spin up best sector times as long as a total of the times is better than in the previous laps. Rober clocked 21.743s, improving his time by 0.055s, still behind Large-Hadr0n but starting a flying lap six with no resets and very good speed, giving time 21.464s, putting him 0.007s ahead of CGS-Huge-Hadr0n!

What a finish! Let’s see the end results:

PlaceRacerTime 1Time 2Final
AWS DeepRacer League 2021 September Finale standings after round two, Championship qualifiers in bold

This ends the race for this month, congratulations to Carvai, CGS-Huge-Hadr0n and Rober for their spots in the championship!

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