Me and some friends worked on a car for Sparkfun’s Autonomous Vehicle Competition. The race has your car make one (just one!) lap around a haybale-bordered track in Sparkfun HQ’s parking lot. There are dirt sections, hoops to go through, barrels to dodge, jumps, zigzags and the famous “discombobulator” – a spinning disc that most competitors just try to jump if they approach it at all.
Our entry, “Neural Carputer,” used an eight layer neural network with four convolution and four fully-connected layers. It was an end-to-end system – it took in camera and odometer data and output steering and throttle commands. We took about an hour of training data – I just manually drove the car through the course during the practice time before race day. In autonomous mode, Carputer would eventually make one perfect run around the course and have many more less-than-perfect runs too (: