Accenture has a rich history of helping customers all over the world build artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) powered solutions with AWS services. In doing so, they always look for new and engaging ways to develop their teams with the appropriate level of enablement and hands-on training. Accenture’s next ML initiative is rolling out their version of an AWS DeepRacer League, which is the world’s first global autonomous racing league launched by AWS at re:Invent in 2018. Accenture’s league spans 30 global locations and 17 countries, with each location featuring both a physical and virtual track to compete on for the title of Accenture AWS DeepRacer Champion.
Why an AWS DeepRacer League and why now?
Machine learning is one of the fastest growing areas in the market. IDC predicted that by 2021, global spending on AI and cognitive technologies will exceed $50M; companies are exploring how they can best take advantage of the technology, no matter the industry. However, the opportunities heavily outweigh the skills present in the workforce to make an AI strategy a reality, and although the breadth of ML-skilled data scientists is growing, companies cannot afford to hire at the scale needed to succeed, leading them to explore ways to upskill their existing talent. AWS DeepRacer and the implementation of the league is a mechanism for Accenture to help their customers take advantage of new ML technologies at scale by democratizing the development of these ML skills throughout their global organization. This unique program provides employees and customers with creative ways to explore machine learning. Participants have the opportunity to learn through hands-on labs followed instantly with practical application—deploying their models to an AWS DeepRacer car and watching it perform. Coupled with the element of competition, it gives teams something to rally around, while helping their organizations learn and grow.
Accenture’s AWS DeepRacer journey
As an emerald sponsor at re:Invent 2018, Accenture was present for the AWS DeepRacer announcement. They attended the workshops, learned about ML basics, built and trained a reinforcement learning model via the AWS DeepRacer 3D cloud-based simulator, and raced that model on one of the physical tracks in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. They even took home their own DeepRacer car! It was during this experience that Accenture realized how easy it was to learn such a complex ML technique and apply these new skills in a fun and engaging way.
Multiple individuals and groups within Accenture signed up to become private preview customers with access to the AWS DeepRacer console in preparation for the launch of their global competition. They have also begun building their own leaderboard that is integrated into the Accenture single sign on, to use for every site’s competition. Accenture participants in each city can create competitions, track their leaderboard, join competitions in other cities, and upload video recordings from their blazing fast laps to claim victory.
The Accenture AWS Business Group has been the driving force behind the Accenture DeepRacer League competition, assembling teams across the world, and equipping each location with everything they need, including tracks, barriers, and leaderboards. Any Accenture employee can join a competition and start their engines November 14, when the Accenture league will launch with a 24-hour follow-the-sun competition across the globe, bringing the excitement of AWS DeepRacer and machine learning to life.
Showcasing AWS DeepRacer at Accenture’s innovation centers
Accenture’s innovation centers, innovation hubs, and liquid studios are the primary locations hosting the AWS DeepRacer physical tracks. The intention is to showcase Accenture’s ML expertise and accelerate AWS ML around the world, extending the opportunity to upskill clients and the AWS communities in each global city. We encourage you to see how straightforward it is to get hands-on with ML, learn essential ML concepts, and experiment through autonomous driving using AWS DeepRacer. Connect with the teams of technologists from the Accenture AWS Business Group (AABG) to get started on your AWS machine learning journey today!
About the Author
As a Solutions Architect Evangelist, Todd spends his time working directly with his customers on a global basis, while listening to understand their goals and working backwards from there. He defines requirements, provides architectural guidance around specific use cases, and assists in designing applications and services that are scalable, reliable, and performant. Todd is also a regular re:Invent speaker and host for the AWS video series “This is My Architecture”.