Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the National Library Board (NLB) concluded the first-ever Singapore Nationwide AWS DeepRacer League on Sunday, 10 September 2023, at One Punggol.

The AWS DeepRacer is a cloud-based, fully autonomous 1/18th scale race car powered by Reinforcement Learning (RL)—a machine learning technique that is ideally suited to autonomous driving. The AWS DeepRacer League helps individuals learn about reinforcement learning using a racing simulator to train, evaluate, and tune RL models, then send them out on the track for a real-world autonomous race.

Guy walking the car round the track.
An AWS DeepRacer National League competitor following their car around the track.

From May to August 2023, AWS and NLB held four virtual races for all students regardless of level in the Student League category and general adult learners in the Open League category. More than 600 participants battled it out on the virtual race track, before 12 finalists emerged in each category to compete at the grand finale. The virtual races were complemented by four DeepRacer workshops hosted at libraries and the workshops attracted a total of 435 participants, with 78 attending on-site and 357 joining online.

The collaboration between NLB and AWS on the DeepRacer League started with NLB’s inaugural ExperienceIT showcase at Punggol Regional Library, where AWS introduced emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to NLB’s patrons. The collaboration has made this race more accessible to all Singapore residents and students, providing a richer variety of learning opportunities in the field of emerging technologies.

People spectating an event
Pictured: Elsie Tan, Public Sector Country Manager, Amazon Web Services Singapore, Dr Janil Puthucheary Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, National Library Board, cheering the AWS DeepRacer participants on.

The finale event was graced by Singapore Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Dr Janil Puthucheary, as the Guest-of-Honour. The grand finale event saw 12-year-old Ryan Goh and working professionals Jimmy Nguyen, and Robin Castro taking top spots in the Student League, Open League, and the Grand Champion title respectively. These individuals demonstrated their ability to learn quickly and leverage their AI and ML knowledge to become the top local racers.

 “I was inspired by my Dad who is also an AWS DeepRacer League racer and competed at the Global Championship. I have improved my skillsets in machine learning through the training provided by AWS and hope to take part in more of these races in the future,” said a beaming Ryan Goh after being presented with his Student Category Championship trophy. Ryan is also the youngest participant to enter this year’s Singapore Nationwide AWS DeepRacer League 2023.

Preparing a workforce of the future
Programs such as AWS DeepRacer are part of AWS and NLB’s efforts to deliver digital skills training in an engaging way. Acquiring advanced digital skills for technologies such as AI and ML adds significant value to both the Singapore economy and individual workers.

 The Gallup Asia Pacific Digital Skills Study, commissioned by AWS, showed workers in Singapore who used advanced digital skills contribute an estimated US$61.8b to Singapore’s annual GDP. Singaporean workers who use advanced digital skills on the job earn 123% more than those who do not. Meanwhile, more than half of tech (54%) and non-tech (56%) workers in Singapore who have participated in digital skills training say it made them more efficient at work.

“AI and ML are some of the most transformative technologies of our time, helping us to address pressing societal challenges,” said Elsie Tan, Country Manager, Worldwide Public Sector, Singapore, AWS. “AWS aims to democratize cloud services by making learning about cloud and emerging technologies fun and accessible for the public through the AWS DeepRacer League. This collaboration with NLB aims to set our participants up for success in the new digital economy, and inspire them to develop technology solutions that better serve our nation.”

“We are excited to collaborate with AWS to make emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence more accessible for all to discover and learn about in our libraries. This is very much in line with NLB's LAB25 plans to work with a wide range of partners, including leading tech firms, to create a learning marketplace that offers lifelong learning opportunities for all,” said Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, National Library Board.

Mini race car
An AWS DeepRacer finding its way around the track.

About AWS DeepRacer in ASEAN and Singapore
The Singapore Nationwide AWS DeepRacer League was also the first nationwide competition in ASEAN. This is part of AWS’s ongoing collaborations with various businesses, public sector organizations, and education institutions to deepen AI and ML skills training. In 2020, AWS also organized the first AWS DeepRacer Women’s League in Southeast Asia. The league aimed to give women more opportunities to develop or fine-tune their machine learning skills and encourage them to join the tech sector.

As we mark the end of Singapore Nationwide AWS DeepRacer League 2023, AWS thanks all our collaborators who helped make this an action-packed and exciting race. Thank you to NLB, as well as the trainers and AWS Community Builder Ray Goh from DBS.