In response to COVID-19 concerns, GTC20 is going Digital. As part of the change, we’re postponing the DIY Autonomous Car Race until further notice. It’s not the news we’d hoped for, knowing how much time and effort you all have put towards getting your cars running. In the meantime, if you‘re looking to connect with the AI racing community online, visit the DIY RoboCars site, and check out our Community Projects for more inspiration.

We look forward to seeing you at competitions and meetups once everything returns back to normal.

From your friends at NVIDIA.

Visit our amAIzing race track to watch or compete as DIY autonomous cars battle it out to the finals.

The competitors will be revving up their RC-sized cars at NVIDIA’s GTC 2020 in San Jose. Attendees are invited to root for their favorite team and learn about this cutting-edge AI technology in action. Winner and runner-ups will be awarded prizes!

Race Rules & Regulations

Racers will compete on a 40ft x 24ft track, side-by-side.>

  • There are 12″ orange traffic cones on the inside of every curve, as shown above.
  • There will be one “obstacle cone” placed at a random location (changed with every race) inside the track.
  • The track is equipped with a minimum of 1 meter of space along each section of the track.
  • There is no separate training track. Leading up to the grand championship, the main track will also serve as the training track.

Cars must start with a single binary interaction. This could be a button on the car, on a controller, a key on a keyboard or equivalent. No other intervention can happen until after the race is over; otherwise the car gets a “did not finish” (DNF). An emergency stop button is recommended but not required. A deadman’s switch is also acceptable where a button is pushed and held for the duration of the race.

There are no rules governing where the computing needs to take place. Cars may have onboard computing, trackside computing or leverage remote or cloud resources. It is the community’s intention to be an open source league, that all designs are put on GitHub and that they are readily copyable after the conclusion of every race. If you are prevented from open-sourcing designs or prefer not to, there is no obligation to do so.

Motors have to be all-electric; no combustion engines.

Participants can use any type/design/configuration of cars, as long as it uses Jetson products.

There are two categories of racers: Stock and Unlimited

1) Stock

Cars are 1/16th scale or smaller: No more than a 7.5″ (190mm) wheelbase, axle to axle. Batteries must be firmly attached with velcro or other straps so they can’t come loose during the race.

For those interested in using NVIDIA Kaya form-factor robot for racing, it will be qualified under the Stock Category.

2) Unlimited

This is for cars larger and/or more expensive than Stock. Cars may be up to two feet long and may weigh up to 10lbs. No limit on cost (although we do encourage DIY economics — if you’ve spent $10,000 on a Lidar sensor, this may not be the right event for you. Not only is it out of reach for others to follow, but in the obligatory Demolition Derby at the end it may very well get damaged) Batteries must be firmly attached with velcro or other straps so they can’t come loose during the race.

  • There are three heats, followed by a “ladder” race-off of the top six cars, paired by closest times, ending with a final race between the top two cars for the winning trophy (not actually a trophy!).
  • All races will be “wheel-to-wheel” with two cars on the track at the same time.
  • Every car will have at least three opportunities to race. Only those in the top six will move on to the ladder. The first heat pairings are random, within the class they have entered. After that, the second and third heat pairings are based on matching closest times within their class in the first heat.
  • Racers may choose to agree on track starting position (inside or outside lane). If they do not agree, the judge will flip a coin to decide.
  • The racetrack runs clockwise.
  • Each heat is three laps. Both the first lap and the three-lap times will be recorded for each car, but only the first-lap time will determine ranking for the next heat (or ladder position).
  • Passing any “curve cone” on the inside is immediate disqualification for that heat.
  • There is no penalty for going outside the white lines, as long as you don’t violate the cone rule above.
  • The random “obstacle cone” may be passed on either side. Hitting the obstacle cone imposes a three-second penalty.
  • Touching any other cone is a one-second penalty.
  • The judge is the final decision maker.

Reference Hardware

Not sure where to start? Check out some of the suggested hardware setups below:

Stock Unlimited