Game of Drones competition gears up to aid autonomous systems research

Image from Game of Drones simulation

Drone racing has transformed from a niche activity sparked by enthusiastic hobbyists to an internationally televised sport. In parallel, computer vision and machine learning are making rapid progress, along with advances in agile trajectory planning, control, and state estimation for quadcopters. These advances enable increased autonomy and reliability for drones. More recently, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research community has begun to tackle the drone-racing problem. This has given rise to competitions, with the goal of beating human performance in drone racing.

At the thirty-third Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2019), the AirSim research team is working together with Stanford University and University of Zurich to further democratize drone-racing research by hosting a simulation-based competition, Game of Drones. We are hosting the competition on Microsoft AirSim, our Unreal Engine-based simulator for multirotors. The competition focuses on trajectory planning and control, computer vision, and opponent drone avoidance. This is achieved via three tiers:

  • Tier 1 Planning only: The participant’s drone races tête-à-tête with a Microsoft Research opponent racer. The goal is to go through all gates in the minimum possible time, without hitting the opponent drone. Ground truth for gate poses, the opponent drone pose, and the participant drone are provided. These are accessible via our application-programming interfaces (APIs). The opponent racer follows a minimum jerk trajectory, which goes through randomized waypoints selected in each gate’s cross section.
  • Tier 2 Perception only: This is a time trial format where the participants are provided with noisy gate poses. There’s no opponent drone. The next gate will not always be in view, but the noisy pose returned by our API will steer the drone roughly in the right direction, after which vision-based control would be necessary.
  • Tier 3 – Perception and Planning: This combines Tier 1 and 2. Given the ground truth state estimate for participant drone and noisy estimate for gates, the goal is to race against the opponent racer without colliding with it.

The animation on the left below shows the ground truth gate poses (Tier 1), while the animation on the right shows the noisy gate poses (Tier 2 and Tier 3). In each animation, the drone is tracking a minimum jerk trajectory using one of our competition APIs.

Image shows the ground truth gate poses

The following animation shows a segment of one of our racing tracks with two drones racing against each other. Here “drone_2” (pink spline) is the opponent racer going through randomized waypoints in each gate cross section, while “drone_1” (yellow spline) is a representative competitor going through the gate centers.

This animation shows a segment of one of our racing tracks with two drones racing against each other

The competition is being run in two stages—an initial qualification round and a final round. A set of training binaries with configurable racetracks was made available to the participants initially, for prototyping and verification of algorithms on arbitrary racetracks. In the qualification stage (Oct 15th to Nov 21st), teams were asked to submit their entries for a subset or all of the three competition tiers.  117 teams registered for the competition worldwide, with 16 unique entries that have shown up on the qualification leaderboard.

We are now running the final round of the competition and the corresponding leaderboard is available here. All of the information for the competition is available at our GitHub repository, along with the training, qualification, and final race environments.

Engineering-wise, we introduced some new APIs in AirSim specifically for the competition, and we’re continually adding more features as we get feedback. We highlight the main components below:

In the long term, we intend to keep the competition open, and we will be adding more racing environments after NeurIPS 2019. While the first iteration brought an array of new features to AirSim, there are still many essential ingredients for trustable autonomy in real-world scenarios and effective simulation-to-reality transfer of learned policies. These include reliable state estimation; camera sensor models and motion blur; robustness to environmental conditions like weather, brightness, and diversity in texture and shape of the drone racing gates; and robustness against dynamics of the quadcopter. Over the next iterations, we aim to extend the competition to focus on these components of autonomy as well.

For more of the exciting work Microsoft is doing with AirSim, see our blog post on Ignite 2019.

Acknowledgements: This work would not have been possible without the substantial team effort behind the scenes by all members of the organizing team—Ratnesh Madaan, Nicholas Gyde, Keiko Nagami, Matthew Brown, Sai Vemprala, Tim Taubner, Eric Cristofalo, Paul Stubbs, Jim Piavis, Guada Casuso, Mac Schwager, Davide Scaramuzza, and Ashish Kapoor.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft Open Data Project adopts new data use agreement for datasets

Datasets compilation for Open Data

Last summer we announced Microsoft Research Open Data—an Azure-based repository-as-a-service for sharing datasets—to encourage the reproducibility of research and make research data assets readily available in the cloud. Among other things, the project started a conversation between the community and Microsoft’s legal team about dataset licensing. Inspired by these conversations, our legal team developed a set of brand new data use agreements and released them for public comment on Github earlier this year.

Today we’re excited to announce that Microsoft Research Open Data will be adopting these data use agreements for several datasets that we offer.

Diving a bit deeper on the new data use agreements

The Open Use of Data Agreement (O-UDA) is intended for use by an individual or organization that is able to distribute data for unrestricted uses, and for which there is no privacy or confidentiality concern. It is not appropriate for datasets that include any data that might include materials subject to privacy laws (such as the GDPR or HIPAA) or other unlicensed third-party materials. The O-UDA meets the open definition: it does not impose any restriction with respect to the use or modification of data other than ensuring that attribution and limitation of liability information is passed downstream. In the research context, this implies that users of the data need to cite the corresponding publication with which the data is associated. This aids in findability and reusability of data, an important tenet in the FAIR guiding principles for scientific data management and stewardship.

We also recognize that in certain cases, datasets useful for AI and research analysis may not be able to be fully “open” under the O-UDA. For example, they may contain third-party copyrighted materials, such as text snippets or images, from publicly available sources. The law permits their use for research, so following the principle that research data should be “as open as possible, as closed as necessary,” we developed the Computational Use of Data Agreement (C-UDA) to make data available for research while respecting other interests. We will prefer the O-UDA where possible, but we see the C-UDA as a useful tool for ensuring that researchers continue to have access to important and relevant datasets.

Datasets that reflect the goals of our project

The following examples reference datasets that have adopted the Open Use of Data Agreement (O-UDA).

Location data for geo-privacy research

Microsoft researcher John Krumm and collaborators collected GPS data from 21 people who carried a GPS receiver in the Seattle area. Users who provided their data agreed to it being shared as long as certain geographic regions were deleted. This work covers key research on privacy preservation of GPS data as evidenced in the corresponding paper, “Exploring End User Preferences for Location Obfuscation, Location-Based Services, and the Value of Location,” which was accepted at the Twelfth ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2010). The paper has been cited 147 times, including for research that builds upon this work to further the field of preservation of geo-privacy for location-based services providers.

Hand gestures data for computer vision

Another example dataset is that of labeled hand images and video clips collected by researchers Eyal Krupka, Kfir Karmon, and others. The research addresses an important computer vision and machine learning problem that deals with developing a hand-gesture-based interface language. The data was recorded using depth cameras and has labels that cover joints and fingertips. The two datasets included are FingersData, which contains 3,500 labeled depth frames of various hand poses, and GestureClips, which contains 140 gesture clips (100 of these contain labeled hand gestures and 40 contain non-gesture activity). The research associated with this dataset is available in the paper “Toward Realistic Hands Gesture Interface: Keeping it Simple for Developers and Machines,” which was published in Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Question-Answer data for machine reading comprehension

Finally, the FigureQA dataset generated by researchers Samira Ebrahimi Kahou, Adam Atkinson, Adam Trischler, Yoshua Bengio and collaborators, introduces a visual reasoning task for research that is specific to graphical plots and figures. The dataset has 180,000 figures with 1.3 million question-answer pairs in the training set. More details about the dataset are available in the paper “FigureQA: An Annotated Figure Dataset for Visual Reasoning” and corresponding Microsoft Research Blog post. The dataset is pivotal to developing more powerful visual question answering and reasoning models, which potentially improve accuracy of AI systems that are involved in decision making based on charts and graphs.

The data agreements are a part of our larger goals

Microsoft Research Open Data project was conceived from the start to reflect Microsoft Research’s commitment to fostering open science and research and to achieve this without compromising the ethics of collecting and sharing data. Our goal is to make it easier for researchers to maintain provenance of data while having the ability to reference and build upon it.

The addition of the new data agreements to Microsoft Research Open Data’s feature set is an exciting step in furthering our mission.

Acknowledgements: This work would not have been possible without the substantial team effort by — Dave Green, Justin Colannino, Gretchen Deo, Sarah Kim, Emily McReynolds, Mario Madden, Emily Schlesinger, Elaine Peterson, Leila Stevenson, Dave Baskin, and Sergio Loscialo.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – 13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2019) – 128 GB SSD, Space Grey

Don’t be silly, if you don’t ask you don’t know

Thank you for the kind advice by the way. In truth you aren’t a million miles away from an offer I’d accept and I much prefer to sell here due to people like your good self. The forums are great.

The issue being postage and if I accept £800 then I’ll likely clear £775 something like that. If you can stretch to say £850-860 then I’d be happy to accept on the basis I clear closer to £800.

Still a massive loss on my part, but you would be getting an as new machine (really is immaculate). only 6 charge cycles. Plus the 3 year warranty which includes accidental damage, replacement guarantee etc. Quite comprehensive.

The difference between a 2017 model and this quad core model will also be noticeable. I believe a lot of the reviews will show just what a step up it is.

Either way, counter offer on the table should you be tempted.

Take care…

Go to Original Article

For Sale – Dell Inspiron 15 5577 15.6” (GTX 1050 4GB, i5-7300HQ) is owned and operated by M2N Limited,
company number 03997482, registered in England and Wales.

Powered by Xenforo, Hosted by Nimbus Hosting, Original design Critical Media Ltd.
This website uses the TMDb API but is not endorsed or certified by TMDb.

Copyright © 2000-2019 E. & O.E.

Go to Original Article

For Sale – Apple MacBook Pro 13.3″ Latest Edition 2019

@tt01, bearing in mind the comments from your previous thread, I suggest you are transparent with this listing, answering all questions with as much detail as possible. Rousetafarian requested a copy of the receipt which you should post here (omitting personal details). The reason being; you are a new member with no verifiable history, selling an extremely high-value item on the basis of trust.

Thank you.

Go to Original Article

For Sale – Alienware 15R3 i7-7820HK Gaming Laptop

In good condition, comes boxed, will get some picture’s up tomorrow in the day light.

7th Generation Core i7 driven machine with a GTX1070 GPU and 16Gb of fast RAM. Lightening fast Samsung 970 EVO NVME M.2 SSD (Under 15 sec boot time) and there is standard fitted 1Gb hard drive for wider data storage.

There is 1 tiny stuck/dead (pink pixel) on the right hand side of the screen, it’s hard to see and It wasn’t until I was giving it a once over today that I spotted it but I like to be honest with my descriptions.

An absolute beast of a machine, this is the model with all the lights and look’s fantastic at night.

This is already priced at a bargain price as elsewhere they are priced at over £1000 refurbished.

Postage could be an option but it is heavy but I’m sure we can come to some agreement if a buyer would need it posted.

I am based in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7820HK (Quad-Core, 8MB Cache, Overclocking up to 4.4GHz) 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare 300-nits Display
Shipping Docs – English, French, German, Italian, Dutch
16GB DDR4 at 2667MHz (2x8GB)
1TB (64MB Cache) 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s
240W AC Adapter
Lithium Ion (99 Wh) Battery
Power Cord – UK
Environmental lot 3 label
Regulatory Label
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 Label
NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5
Killer N1435/1535 Driver KBL
Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
Alienware 6 programmable Macro module keys
Internal UK/Irish (QWERTY) Backlit Keyboard
Windows 10 Home-HE 64bit English, Dutch, French, German, Italian
CPU Overclocking Tools for AWCC for Alienware Laptops
Thank you for Choosing Dell
Custom BTO Configuration
Dell Order
VAT Rate % 20
Subtotal Freight VAT Total
GBP 1,499.25 0.00 299.85 1,799.10

Go to Original Article

For Sale – i5, 8GB ram,

Just a quick bump/info
You cannot beat the 3570k for overclocking value.
Mine ran comfortably at 4.6ghz with a single rad AIOCOOLER and backed it down to 4.2ghz which it runs at now with throttle management running mostly at 2.6ghz
When I get my arse in gear and build my i9.9820x-2080ti monster sitting in its boxes, I’ll be retiring mine.
*- 35 bucks for a quad core i5 that’ll do those speeds is remarkable!! -*

Go to Original Article

Wanted – Up to 14″laptop, maybe Toshiba Z30?

Ive got a toahiba z40 i bought from here to use with a meter to calibrate my tv just over a year ago, has had very little use by me, specifications are….
* Intel Core i5-4210 Processor up to 2.7Ghz
* 128GB Original Toshiba SSD Drive
* Windows 7 Professional 64Bit(upgraded to Windows 10)
* Built-In Bluetooth
* HDMI Port
* VGA Port
* 3x USB 3.0 Ports
* 3.5mm Headphone jack
* Ethernet Port
* SD Card Reader
* Original Toshiba Battery and charger
Is this of any interest?

Go to Original Article

For Sale – Powercolor R9 295 x2, DDR3 Ram & various older Bits

Its been a while & im having a clear out. All of the below parts are for sale to fund a new up to date GPU.

The below parts were in my system untill last week when i upgraded to a i7 9900k package and are all working 100%. The ram modules were ran together to give 12gb of ram at stock settings. The GPU is still in my system but if i get a sale i can run my monitor off the Mobo/ CPU.

  • i7 2600k CPU £45 + Postage SOLD TO URL
  • Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 Inc, OI shield stickers box manuals etc £40 + Postage SOLD TO KINNSY
  • Corsair 2x 2GB DDR3 Ram £10 + Postage
  • Exceleram 2 x 4GB DDR3 Ram £20 + Postage SOLD TO KINNSY
  • Powercolor Radeon R9 295 x2 Watercooled £260 + Postage
    (Still in my system but available for immediate despatch.) This GPU Is very long and as you can see barely fits in my case. it also requires 2, 8 pin power connections with 28amps each as per warning in the box.
  • Dell optiplex Computer with extra ram 5gb ram and gigabyte R4650 gpu, 250gb WD HDD £25 + Postage

The following parts are sold as untested however i dont have any reason to believe they would not work. Prices have been adjusted accordingly and a bundle deal would be availabe.

  • BFG 8800 GTS OC £5 + Postage
  • Palit 9800GT £7 + Postage
  • Cooler Master RS 460 PCAP A3 460W PSU £10 + Postage
  • Seagate Pipeline HD.2 500GB £7 + Postage
  • WD 320 GB HDD £5 + Postage

Prices are a guestimate based on Ebay and Google. Offers accepted.

Any questions let me know


Go to Original Article