Twin win at Google’s Waymo autonomous driving competition

A team of NTU roboticists has clinched two top awards at an autonomous driving competition organised by Waymo, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of Google.

In the Google’s 2021 Waymo Open Dataset Challenges which saw more than 70 international teams take part virtually, the NTU team won 1st place under the Interaction Prediction category and 2nd place under the Motion Prediction category.

In the two challenges, participants had to develop software algorithms to analyse 574 hours of real-world traffic data collected by Waymo – consisting of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as infrastructure such as traffic lights.

The competition’s results were unveiled at the recent 2021 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) – regarded as the world’s premier annual computer vision conference.

The competition saw participation from top teams from industry and academia, such as automotive AI firm Horizon Robotics, US tech company Xilinx, Chinese automobile manufacturer Leapmotor, transport giant DiDi, and universities including University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Technical University of Munich, ETH Zürich and Tsinghua University.

In the Interaction Predication challenge, NTU was the only named winner with no other runner ups, unlike the other challenges which had the top three teams named. In the Motion Predication challenge, NTU is placed 2nd after Tsinghua University.

The team is now looking to integrate its technologies into the NTU-Volvo full-sized autonomous electric bus and to conduct trials at the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of Autonomous Vehicles – NTU (CETRAN).

Developing future mobility solutions is part of the NTU 2025 Strategic Plan that seeks to address technology’s impact on humanity through high impact research. These future mobility technologies are developed and tested on the NTU Smart Campus, a living testbed of innovative digital and tech-enabled solutions that support better learning and living experiences.

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